(New York) – The Afghan government is failing to protect tens of thousands of children, some as young as 5, from hazardous conditions in the workplace, in violation of Afghanistan’s labor laws.

Helal, 10, works as a brick maker at a brick kiln outside Kabul. He told Human Rights Watch that the brick mold is heavy and his hands hurt working with wet clay. Helal doesn’t go to school because he has to work. 

© 2016 Bethany Matta/Human Rights Watch

The 31-page report, “‘They Bear All the Pain’: Hazardous Child Labor in Afghanistan,” documents how child workers work dangerous jobs in Afghanistan’s carpet industry; as bonded labor in brick kilns; and as metal workers. They perform tasks that could result in illness, injury, or even death due to hazardous working conditions and poor enforcement of safety and health standards. Many children who work under those conditions combine the burdens of a job with school, or forego education altogether. Working compels many children in Afghanistan to leave school prematurely. Only half of children involved in child labor attend school. 

“Thousands of Afghan children risk their health and safety every day to put food on the family table,” said Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The Afghan government needs to do a better job of protecting its children – and the country’s future – by enforcing the law prohibiting dangerous work for children.”

The Afghan government is failing to protect tens of thousands of children, some as young as 5, from hazardous conditions in the workplace, in violation of Afghanistan’s labor laws. 

The government has failed to enforce prohibitions against child labor in hazardous industries, and has stalled in its effort to overhaul its labor law to bring it into line with international standards, Human Rights Watch said. Government institutions responsible for enforcing the law often lack the capacity to inspect workplaces, with the result that children working in prohibited jobs go unnoticed and unprotected.

In 2014, the Afghan government published a list of 19 hazardous occupations prohibited for children. These jobs include carpet weaving, metal work, and brick making. While a lack of resources is an important factor in the persistence of child labor in hazardous industries, the Afghan government has also failed to enforce its labor laws through penalties for violators and a strategy to end exploitative labor conditions.

A brick kiln manager in Kabul told Human Rights Watch: “There are children here, starting from 10 years or 8 years of age to 15 or 16… They wake up at 3 in the morning and work until about evening… They complain of pain, but what can they do? The kids are here to make a living. They bear all the pain to do all the work.”

Extreme poverty often drives Afghan children into hazardous labor. Afghanistan remains one of the poorest countries in the world. Landlessness, illiteracy, high unemployment, and continuing armed conflict in much of the country are among the most important factors contributing to chronic poverty and, as a result, child labor.

A 13-year-old metal worker in Kabul said, “My fingers have been cut from the sharp edges of the metal and slammed by the hammer. My finger has also been caught in the trimming-beading machine. When your nail gets hit by a hammer or caught in the machine, it becomes black and eventually falls off.”

Thousands of Afghan children risk their health and safety every day to put food on the family table. The Afghan government needs to do a better job of protecting its children – and the country’s future – by enforcing the law prohibiting dangerous work for children.

Phelim Kine

Deputy Director, Asia Division

While work that is appropriate to a child’s age and under healthy and safe conditions can be beneficial to the child’s development and allow them to contribute to their family’s basic needs, work that interferes with a child’s education, or is likely to jeopardize their health or safety, is generally considered “child labor” and is prohibited under international law.

Although pilot projects extending community-based schools to reach vulnerable children have been promising, support for these schools is inadequate to the need. Eradicating child labor in Afghanistan is not feasible so long as extreme poverty continues, but the government and its donors can take steps to protect children from the risks associated with working in particularly dangerous or unhealthy conditions.

Those steps include increasing the number of labor inspectors to adequately cover the entire country; giving priority to monitoring hazardous sectors; and offering the Afghan government targeted technical assistance in devising and implementing policies, standards, and regulations against child labor. Both the government and its foreign donors should devote more resources to expanding educational support to all working children.

The government has a legal obligation under international law to take immediate action to eradicate hazardous child labor. Both Afghanistan and its foreign donors should take urgent steps to protect children from the risks associated with working in particularly dangerous or unhealthy conditions.

“When children are of legal age and work in safe conditions, they can help provide vital livelihood support for many Afghan families,” Kine said. “But the Afghan government has an obligation to enforce the laws that protect children in the workplace, and ensure that they neither have to sacrifice their education or safety as the price for supporting their families.”
 

Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am

Zama Neff is the executive director of the children's rights division of Human Rights Watch. She also co-chairs the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA). Neff has conducted fact-finding investigations and is the author of reports and articles on a range of issues affecting children, including access to education, police violence, refugee protection, the worst forms of child labor, and discrimination against women and girls. She has published on op-ed pages in major international and US publications and speaks regularly to the media. During a sabbatical, she ran a protection monitoring team for the Norwegian Refugee Council in Sri Lanka. Before joining Human Rights Watch in 1999, Neff clerked for a US federal judge, advocated on behalf of immigrants and refugees in the US, and worked with community development and women's organizations in Honduras. She is a graduate of Davidson College and New York University School of Law.

Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai speaks during the first focus event on education at the donors Conference for Syria in London, Britain February 4, 2016.

© 2016 Reuters

Among the thousands of excited students across Britain starting university soon will be the remarkable Malala Yousafzai, who will read politics, philosophy, and economics at Oxford. Five years ago, Malala was shot on her way home from school, viciously attacked by the Pakistani Taliban for promoting girls’ education.

While Malala’s story is well known, her tireless campaigning on education and the rights of women and girls has yet to be matched by comparable political action. Her courage should prompt politicians to do more, not least in Britain.

Malala’s attack was horrific, but attacks on students and the schools they attend is a global problem. In at least 29 conflict-affected countries around the world, insurgent groups and even government forces have bombed, shelled, and burned schools and universities. Many schools have also been turned into bases or barracks for warring parties. The presence of fighters puts students in the line of fire, makes them vulnerable to recruitment as child soldiers, and puts girls at risk of sexual violence.

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Sign our petition and call on the UK to Protect Schools and education around the world!

For this reason, Human Rights Watch and others are promoting the Safe Schools Declaration – in which governments pledge to not use schools for military purposes and to protect them during military operations.

Sixty-nine countries, including most NATO and European Union member states, have now endorsed the declaration. France and Canada are recent signatories. Britain is not yet among them. But Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has announced a review and ministers are currently assessing whether the British government should support it.

The case for Britain to join is overwhelming. The Ministry of Defence worries the declaration creates extra legal obligations for British soldiers beyond what is found in the laws of war. It does not. In fact, to its credit, the British military already has some of the world’s strongest regulations on protecting schools in wartime.

So why join? Because Britain would reinforce the growing global consensus that schools must be safe places, even during war. It would strengthen Britain’s hand in discussions with countries like Pakistan, Somalia, Nigeria, and Afghanistan, where attacks on schools and students are still all too common. And it would fit squarely with Johnson’s declared foreign policy priority to get more children, especially girls, into school – free from discrimination and misogyny, in a safe environment where they can learn, grow, and thrive.

Author: Human Rights Watch
Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am

A North Korean flag flies at the DPRK Permanent Mission in Geneva. 

© 2017 Reuters

(Seoul) – The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child should press the North Korean government to protect children who are victims of sexual abuse and harassment, Human Rights Watch said today. On September 20, 2017, as part of its 76th plenary session, the committee will convene a hearing with North Korean government officials to discuss the country’s record in protecting children’s rights.

The North Korean government claims no one has been punished since 2008 for raping or sexually abusing or exploiting a child because “such acts are inconceivable for the people in the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] who regard such acts as the most disgraceful.”

However, Human Rights Watch documented four cases of child sexual harassment or abuse in North Korea during the period between 2008 and 2015, the current reporting period under review by the committee, and three other cases that took place in the early 2000s. North Koreans who recently escaped to third countries or maintain contacts in the North told Human Rights Watch that when girls are sexually harassed or abused, some guardians refuse to formally complain to police or other government officials because they believe government officials will not investigate, and the girl and the family will face stigmatization.

“North Korean girls really have nowhere to turn to when they are victimized by sexual abuse,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director. “The Committee on the Rights of the Child should debunk the claim that there is no sexual abuse and demand that Pyongyang take immediate steps to ensure real, substantive protections are in place for victims.”

The Committee on the Rights of the Child is a body of 18 independent experts that reviews the compliance of each state party with its obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the human rights treaty that protects the rights of children. North Korea ratified the convention in 1990. The committee also monitors implementation of the convention’s Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography, which North Korea ratified in November 2014.

The Committee on the Rights of the Child should debunk the claim that there is no sexual abuse in North Korea.

Phil Robertson

Deputy Asia Director

Governments that ratify the CRC must submit regular reports to the committee on how they are implementing their rights obligations under the convention. States must submit an initial report two years after acceding to the convention and then periodic reports every five years.

In May 2016, the North Korean government submitted its fifth report, due in 2012, combined with its sixth report covering the period between 2008 and 2015. The CRC convened a pre-sessional working group meeting which was held in February, and the committee will conduct its plenary session with North Korea on September 20.

Eyewitness Accounts of Abuse
A total of 26 North Korean adults and children who were interviewed by Human Rights Watch between January 2015 and February 2017 described how it is unremarkable for North Korean woman and girls to witness or experience gender-based violence.

North Koreans interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that domestic violence is usually not punished or checked, but instead government authorities view it as a private matter in which the state and persons outside the family should not intervene. Five of the witnesses from urban areas in North Hamgyong, Ryanggang, and South Pyongan provinces said it was common for children to see men verbally or physically abusing women in public. Reasons received by Human Rights Watch for these abuses varied, but included showing what a man perceived as an “arrogant” attitude, staring at a man at the wrong moment, failing to reply fast enough to a man’s question, and having a business disagreement with a man.

Interviewees also described how the state fails to protect children from common types of unwanted sexual contact, such as men groping women and girls’ breasts and hips in both public and private spaces and trying to reach under their clothes. Such behavior usually happens in crowded public areas such as official and neighborhood celebrations, on trains, or while traveling by car or truck on the road.

Both adults and girls interviewed by Human Rights Watch said victims do not dare report crimes of sexual violence because they don’t trust the authorities to seriously investigate, and they fear repercussions and stigma if it is found out they have been sexually abused, while the perpetrators would remain untouched by stigma or the justice process. Survivors of sexual abuse said that their family members and close friends who knew about what happened discouraged them from going to the authorities.

Each of the North Koreans interviewed told Human Rights Watch that the police and security forces do not consider violence against women a serious crime. A former State Security Department (SSD) agent who received all criminal reports that took place in two provinces for a decade until the late 2000s said in December 2016 that he never saw a single instance of a woman filing a rape complaint about an incident where there were no third party witnesses. In practice, he said the police and the SSD only investigated alleged sexual assault or rape cases when the woman suffered severe injury or death, or if the victim was connected to a powerful family.

The former SSD agent and two former high-ranking party officers said that although there were some cases in which authorities acted against perpetrators of violence against women, those cases were usually brought for ulterior motives, such as political gain when the perpetrator faced loss of their position at the instigation of an opponent wanting that position, or for reasons of personal revenge. The officers said the punishment in such cases rarely included imprisonment, but would more likely entail demotion, or sending the perpetrator to a less desirable posting in the countryside or working in a mine. They added official interventions did not lead to support for victims, who suffered stigma because of publicizing the attacks, and were left vulnerable to possible retaliation, without support or assistance.

Although the number of persons interviewed is not large enough to reach conclusions on overall conditions inside the country, they did provide a consistent picture of abuse based on the interviewees’ personal experiences. The interviewees provided disturbing accounts of sexual harassment and rape of children, and lack of child protection.

Survivors Speak
In 2015, a female North Korean student in her 20s (who escaped North Korea in 2014) spoke with her aunt who lives in Ryanggang province. Her aunt told her that her 5-year-old cousin had been raped by a family friend who was supposed to be taking care of her. “Somehow, she managed to describe what she went through, so they did not let him near her anymore,” she said. But the victim’s parents decided not to tell anybody about the rape. They didn’t believe the police would do anything about it. They also doubted the perpetrator would be punished and thought that if others in the community knew about the incident, it could ruin their daughter’s future and make it harder to get married when she grew up.

The student told Human Rights Watch in February 2016 she was surprised her aunt told her about the case because most adults in the community had told her that rape of a child is an unimaginable crime. But the student said she believed rape of children was more common than what adults talked about. She added that when she was 15 years old, her parents warned her not to pass near the house of an old man who had been disowned by his family for raping his granddaughter and leaving her badly injured. At that time, her mother explained to her what rape was and she realized she had been raped by a neighbor who was babysitting her when she was 6 years old. “I was playing with my doll and he said we’d play a different game. I just remember thinking it was painful and did not like it. He said, ‘Don’t worry, let’s just count, just ten more, ten, nine, eight…,’” she recalled. “I kept on crying and saying I did not like him, but my parents did not understand what happened to me. After the third time leaving me with him, they decided to keep me away from him.” After realizing what happened, the student decided not to reveal her experience to anyone because she feared being stigmatized and facing problems in finding marriage prospects.

“The North Korean government needs to move past its denial of sexual abuse of children in North Korea, and ensure that survivors have access to comprehensive health, legal, and social services without fearing stigma or retaliation,” Robertson said. “The Committee on the Rights of the Child should call out Pyongyang for allowing these horrific abuses to continue, and demand it puts a priority on the protection of North Korean children.”

Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am

Iraqi Ministry of Transportation buses taking internally displaced families to Hammam al-Alil in May 2017. In late August, Iraqi authorities bused 1,400 foreign women and children to the site. 

© 2017 Belkis Wille/Human Rights Watch
 

(Beirut) – Iraqi authorities are holding more than 1,400 foreign women and their children who surrendered with ISIS fighters in late August 2017, Human Rights Watch said today. The detentions appear to have no legal basis and none of the detainees has been brought before a judge to assess the legality and necessity of their detention. The authorities should promptly charge or safely release them and confirm the whereabouts of up to 200 men and teenage boys, many foreign, who surrendered during the same period.

Beginning on August 30, Iraqi authorities detained the women and children next to a displaced persons camp in the town of Hammam al-Alil, 30 kilometers south of Mosul, then transferred them on September 17 to an informal detention site in Tal Kayf, 10 kilometers north of Mosul.

“Hundreds of foreign children risk being abandoned in a hellish twilight zone, with no legal identity and no country willing to take them,” said Bill Van Esveld, children’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Iraq, foreign countries, and international organizations should not let these children fall into statelessness, or consign them and their mothers to detention without charge.”

On September 10 and 11, Human Rights Watch visited the fenced Hammam al-Alil site, consisting of 17 large warehouse-style tents, which was controlled by Iraqi forces. Researchers conducted individual and group interviews with 27 foreign women. The family groups interviewed included no boys over 12 and no men. Two women were visibly pregnant, and dozens of children appeared to be under age 3.

The women and international humanitarian agency staff there said they included Afghan, Azerbaijani, Chinese, Chechen, Iranian, Russian, Syrian, Tajik, Trinidadian, and Turkish nationals. Reuters reported that they also included Algerian, French, and German nationals. Some women had identification documents but most said they did not. Most said they had traveled from their home countries to Turkey, then crossed into Syria before entering Iraq. Most of the children, particularly young children born in Iraq, had no birth certificates or ID documents.

One of the entry stamps in a Syrian woman’s passport who said she had entered Iraq lawfully, who was being held at the Hammam al-Alil site on September 10, 2017. Most women and children at the site had no identification documents.

© 2017 Bill Van Esveld/Human Rights Watch

An Iraqi military intelligence official who declined to give his name told Human Rights Watch at the site on September 10 that the women and children were being held “for their own protection.” There is no legal power under Iraqi law to detain people on this basis, nor is it legal to detain individuals merely because a spouse or parent was a member of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Under international law, Iraqi authorities may detain children only as a measure of last resort, and all detention needs to have a clear legal basis, be decided on an individual basis, and all detainees should be brought promptly before a judge to assess the legality and necessity of their detention.

In late August, the foreign women and children fled a military offensive that retook the Iraqi town of Tal Afar from ISIS, and surrendered to Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Peshmerga military forces, who held them temporarily in a school before handing them to Iraqi forces, said international humanitarian officials and the women.

Women interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that men and boys over 12 were separated, their hands tied, and lined up against a wall inside the school compound. Women who were there on August 28 said that a woman carried out a suicide attack at the school that day, after which the Kurdish forces killed six males, possibly including two boys, who were being held separately just outside the school compound. When the women were moved to Hamman al-Alil on August 30, the men remained and the women did not know what happened to them.

On September 17, Iraqi military officers and Transport Ministry officials arrived at Hamman al-Alil, loaded the women and children onto buses against their will and left with them, saying they had orders from Baghdad to move them to a military intelligence detention site in Tal Kayf, humanitarian officials who were there told Human Rights Watch. Iraqi authorities did not give them advance notice or say where the families were being taken. It is not clear if the women currently have access to humanitarian assistance and protection monitoring, which is cause for concern, Human Rights Watch said.

Col. Ahmed al-Taie from Mosul’s Nineveh Operation command told Reuters on September 10 that the Iraqi army was holding the women and children under “tight security measures” while “waiting for government orders” as to how to deal with them, including women he described as having been “deluded” by “vicious IS [Islamic State] propaganda.”

On September 12, the Norwegian Refugee Council stated that it would no longer manage the Hammam al-Alil site, where Iraqi military forces were present, because it could not be considered a humanitarian facility.

A KRG spokesman confirmed the suicide attack on August 28, but denied that Peshmerga forces had carried out the alleged extrajudicial killings. He said Peshmerga forces shot a man on August 30 because he was armed and carrying a bomb and threatened to kill a Yezidi captive and Peshmerga forces. The official said the Peshmerga had turned over to Iraqi security forces all the people who surrendered. Bodies found in Mosul since October 2016 suggested some Iraqi forces had extrajudicially killed suspected ISIS members there.

On September 16, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi of Iraq stated in an interview that most of the women and children were not guilty of a crime, and that his government was “in full communication” with their home countries to “find a way to hand them over.” Human Rights Watch confirmed with humanitarian sources on September 18 that none of the women and children detained since late August at the Hammam al-Alil site had been repatriated.

Iraqi and KRG criminal justice authorities should investigate all alleged crimes, including unlawful killings, by any party to the conflict in a prompt, transparent, and effective manner, up to the highest levels of responsibility. Those found criminally responsible should be appropriately prosecuted.

Iraq should confirm the whereabouts of the missing men and boys, prioritize prosecution of ISIS members found to have committed the worst abuses, and consider alternatives to prosecution for people whose only alleged crime is ISIS membership or who entered Iraq illegally through Syria.

The Iraqi authorities should clarify the legal basis for holding the women and children, ensure all detainees are either charged with a crime and brought promptly before a judge, or immediately released, and are informed of their right to request consular assistance if they choose. Many of the foreign women apparently entered Iraq illegally, but not all are necessarily ISIS members. Iraq should work with international agencies to safely return foreign women who are not charged with a crime to their home country while considering the best interests of their children, taking into account the possibility that the mothers might be imprisoned. The government and international agencies should urgently identify durable solutions, including resettlement to third countries, for released women and children who cannot safely return to their home countries, including Syrian nationals.

While Iraq is responsible for ensuring the safety and security of the women and children, their home countries’ and other foreign embassies have a key role to play in finding durable solutions, including potential third country resettlement.

“The Iraqi government should ensure the women’s safe repatriation, asylum or resettlement if they release them, or fair trials if it charges them with violating Iraqi laws,” Van Esveld said. “It would be a terrible irony if children, who were notoriously victimized by ISIS, were forced to pay with their future for ISIS’s crimes.”

Fleeing Tal Afar
ISIS took control of Tal Afar in June 2014. Iraqi forces opened an offensive on August 20, 2017, and retook control of the city and the eastern parts of the district from ISIS fighters on August 26, and the rest of the province in late August. A United Nations humanitarian update published on August 29 reported that 20,000 people fled the area between August 14 and 22, but that 1,500 who remained in the city attempted to flee on August 26.

The women Human Rights Watch interviewed said they fled fighting in Tal Afar at various times on or after August 26, in groups ranging from about 20 to hundreds of people. The majority were foreign women and children, but there were smaller numbers of older, wounded, or fighting-age men. Most women said their husbands were also non-Iraqi, and had been killed in fighting in Mosul or more recently in Tel Afar. Many had lived in the al-Askari neighborhood in Tal Afar.

Those fleeing found themselves stuck in a zone between Iraqi forces advancing from the south and a front line held by Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the north. All the women interviewed said they had surrendered to Peshmerga forces, who later transferred them to the custody of Iraqi forces.

The women described passing the town of Ayadiya, 17 kilometers north of Tal Afar, before meeting Kurdish forces, in an area of active fighting along a route strewn with landmines. Five of the women said they saw body parts or dead people along the route and some said that they saw incoming fire that killed some people fleeing. In most cases they could not attribute the source of the attacks. One woman said she saw a 12-year-old boy hit by a gunshot that blew off his leg below the knee. Another woman said that she saw a helicopter fire on a group fleeing ahead of her.

Surrender to Kurdish Forces, and Alleged Killings of Boys and Men
The women consistently said that Peshmerga soldiers gave them water and food, and facilitated the evacuation of some of the wounded and sick in ambulances. Some women said the soldiers took their money or gold. All the women said that when they surrendered, Peshmerga soldiers separated women from men and boys ages 13 or 14 and older, and took everyone to an empty school compound, apparently in the village of Saleh al-Malih. At the school, the Peshmerga placed the women, girls, and younger boys in classrooms, and the men and older boys along the inside of one of the walls that enclosed three sides of the compound, with their arms tied behind their backs.

Women who were there on the afternoon and evening of August 28 described seeing between 150 to 200 men and boys on the inside of the compound wall. Two women said they saw an older, heavy-set man with white hair, wearing a red T-shirt, lying unmoving on the ground for hours and apparently dead, among the men and boys seated next to the wall. They said a Peshmerga soldier walked back and forth in front of the men and boys, hitting them with his belt. Three women also said that they saw a group of around 20 men in their 20s and 30s, whom they described as ISIS soldiers, with arms tied, outside an earth mound along the fourth side of the compound.

These women said they arrived at the school at around 10 or 11 a.m. and that at around 1 p.m., a foreign woman who was apparently being checked by female Peshmerga soldiers at the school entrance detonated a bomb she was wearing or carrying, killing and wounding Peshmerga soldiers and displaced people. A KRG official said the bombing killed three soldiers. A UN report stated that a suicide bomber killed a child and two women and wounded 11 people, including 6 civilians. One witness had a small scar on her face and a bandage on her left forearm, which she said were from injuries caused by the explosion.

Two women, interviewed separately, said that minutes later, they saw Peshmerga soldiers shoot at least six men near the earth berm. The women did not know the victims or whether any were children, but “two of them were young and the other four had beards,” one woman from Syria said. They said the men’s arms were tied and that they did not appear to pose a threat. Three other women also described hearing an explosion, followed within 5 to 10 minutes by gunshots. The women said that shortly afterward, a Peshmerga soldier in a white flatbed truck drove with the men’s dead bodies around the school compound, and that they saw soldiers put the remaining members of the group of men outside the berm onto other trucks and drive away with them. It is not known what happened to the men.

In a separate incident, a Syrian woman in her 20s said that Peshmerga forces shot her husband, who was Turkish, and another Turkish man, both ISIS members, after they surrendered on August 30:

 

My husband had told the Kurds that he would surrender us and give back our Yezidi slave girl, and they told him we could go to Turkey, but then we surrendered and he was talking with another [ISIS member]. I was six meters away from him. I heard gunfire and turned around and his bloody body was on the ground. The other [ISIS member] started running and they shot him down.

 

In response to Human Rights Watch, a KRG spokesperson stated that “government sources strongly reject the allegation” that Peshmerga forces extrajudicially executed men at the school at Saleh al-Malih on August 28. He said Peshmerga had unsuccessfully attempted to negotiate with the woman suicide bomber, who killed three soldiers and wounded two. On August 30, the spokesperson said, Peshmerga forces, who had been alerted by a Yezidi woman’s family that she was being held captive, shot and killed her Turkish captor when he arrived at their lines, threatening to kill her.

Transfer to Iraqi Forces; Disappearances of Men, Boys
The women said that Peshmerga soldiers held them at the school compound for varying amounts of time, not exceeding 24 hours, then loaded them and their younger children onto buses that took them to areas under the control of Iraqi forces, and ultimately to the Hammam al-Alil site. The military forces in control of the busses were Iraqi, not Peshmerga, soldiers.

The women described a large convoy of more than a dozen buses. Some women said that older men or wounded men were loaded onto the buses as well, but that most passengers were women and young children.

The women said that was the last they saw of the men and boys held along the school wall. Human Rights Watch interviewed women who were relatives of Turkish men ages 20, 43, 73, and around 45; an Azeri man in his 40s; and a Trinidadian man of 53 who last saw them at the school compound and do not know their whereabouts. Two Syrian women named eight women, four Syrian and four Azerbaijani, they last saw at the compound who had not turned up in Hammam al-Alil, and whose whereabouts they didn’t know.

Several women said Iraqi forces stopped their buses at checkpoints on the way to Hammam al-Alil, screened the passengers, and removed suspected ISIS members. At one of these stops, one woman said, a person whose identity was obscured by a mask identified 10 men and boys who were taken away by security forces that she could not identify, before the buses continued. A second woman said that Iraqi forces took her and other bus passengers into an empty building that was still under construction for screening.

Another woman, who was on a different bus, said that after it had passed two checkpoints, Iraqi security forces stopped it at a checkpoint in Hamdaniya, a Christian town 16 kilometers northeast of Hammam al-Alil, where a masked informant pointed out her Iraqi husband, age 56. A soldier took him and three other men from the bus to a prefabricated caravan at the checkpoint, and another soldier told her, “If he is innocent they’ll let him go.”

The woman, 39, has four young children, and insisted that her husband was not an ISIS supporter, and that the family had been in Mosul when ISIS took the city and had been unable to flee. Once the United States-led coalition started carrying out heavier airstrikes on Mosul, the family fled to Tal Afar, she said, where ISIS forces refused to let them leave.

According to international legal principles on the treatment of prisoners, Iraqi authorities have a duty to inform the families of the men who were taken off the buses, and to treat them humanely – regardless of whether they are ISIS supporters. Some Iraqi units have a record of enforced disappearances and executions of suspected ISIS members.

Treatment of the Women, Children
News media reported that Iraqi officials said Iraq was negotiating with the women’s home countries for their return. Human Rights Watch received information that the Azerbaijan embassy was pursuing the return of its nationals among the detained women and children.

Iraqi authorities should notify the women that they have the right to request consular support, and contact and facilitate consular access for women who wish to do so, while ensuring that women are not arbitrarily separated from their children except based on the determination that doing so would be in the child’s best interest. Iraqi authorities should ensure that women and children are not deported or repatriated if they would be at risk of persecution, torture, or unfair trials for their alleged Islamic State affiliation.

Iraqi authorities should protect the women and children from reprisal attacks, but not detain them or prohibit their freedom of movement unless they are suspected of specific crimes and have judge-issued warrants against them. Iraqi authorities and authorities in the women’s home states, if they are returned, should prioritize prosecutions for involvement in serious crimes.

Iraqi authorities should facilitate humanitarian access to them and their children, and ensure access to medical care and decent living conditions.

Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am

Unaccompanied children line up for an evening meal at a detention facility run by the Greek police.
 

© 2015 Kelly Lynn Lunde

Is it ever acceptable for children to be detained in dark and dirty police cells, without access to the most basic services? Of course not. But when it comes to unaccompanied migrant children, Greek authorities appear to think the answer is yes. 

According to the government’s latest figures, published in early September, at least 113 children were detained in so-called protective custody at police stations or police-run detention facilities, waiting to be transferred to a shelter. The number was higher in August, when 142 children were kept in those cells. Human Rights Watch research has documented the detention of unaccompanied migrant children in police cells and other detention centres in Greece, in violation of international and Greek law.

Greek authorities justify the detention of unaccompanied children as a temporary measure to protect children from harm when the shelter system is full. But under international law, detention of unaccompanied children should be avoided. Binding European directives and national law state that when unaccompanied children are detained, it should be only as a measure of last resort, in exceptional circumstances, and for the shortest appropriate period. 

Children we interviewed described the deplorable conditions they faced: held for weeks in dirty, unsanitary, and overcrowded police cells, often sharing space with unrelated adults.

Far from protecting them, this makes children vulnerable to all kinds of abuses, including sexual violence and harassment and increases the risk of further deteriorating their already fragile psychological state. As if that wasn’t enough, we found unaccompanied children in detention are not correctly informed about their rights and have no access to educational or recreational activities.

In response to an open letter from Human Rights Watch in July, Greek Minister for Migration Policy Yannis Mouzalas has pledged that by the end of the year not a single child would be kept in protective custody.

To fulfil this pledge, Greece should use EU funding to provide suitable short-term alternatives to detention, increase the number of places in long-term shelters, and establish a foster family system. Other EU countries have a responsibility to address the situation too. They should make relocating unaccompanied children a priority, speed up family reunification, and broaden eligibility requirements for relocation so more kids can benefit. Unaccompanied children currently in police cells in Greece cannot wait any longer.

Author: Human Rights Watch
Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am

Hazrat Hussain, 10, loads bricks onto a truck. Hazrat doesn’t go to school and works alongside his two teenage brothers at a brick kiln outside Kabul.  

© 2016 Bethany Matta/Human Rights Watch
 
Child labor rates are dropping, but far too slowly.
 
Between 2000 and 2012, governments made impressive strides in reducing child labor. During that period, child labor rates dropped by one-third – to 168 million from 250 million. This meant that 70 million fewer children were toiling at young ages or in hazardous work.
 
But new statistics released today by the International Labour Organization indicate this trend is slackening. True, child labor rates are still declining, but at a much slower pace. From 2012 to 2016, the numbers of children in child labor dipped to 152 million from 168 million, only one-third of the reduction achieved the previous four years. At this rate, governments have no hope of reaching the target they set in 2015 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals – to end child labor by 2025.
 
We know some of the strategies that work to end child labor. First and foremost is getting children into school. As enrollment rates increase, child labor declines. Since 2000, governments have increased the number of children in school by 110 million, making it much less likely those children will end up in the labor market.
 
Second is a strong legal framework. When governments enforce child labor laws through effective inspections and penalties for employers who exploit children, child labor is less likely to flourish.
 
A third strategy is to provide support for poor families – those that are most likely to send their children to work to help put food on the table. Cash transfer programs, for example, provide poor families with a guaranteed monthly income and alleviate the financial pressures that contribute to child labor. In Morocco, for example, payments of just US$7 a month per child helped reduce child labor rates by one third.
 
A stronger approach to child labor isn’t just about protecting children from exploitation. Ending child labor interrupts cycles of poverty, strengthening families, communities, and economies.
 
The new statistics should be a wake-up call to governments and prompt new investments in the strategies that work. All of us – not just children – will benefit. 
Author: Human Rights Watch
Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am

The Broken Chair, a statue in support of the bans on landmines and cluster munitions, stands outside the United Nations in Geneva.

© 2017 Mary Wareham/Human Rights Watch

Yemenis were again mourning their children this weekend – this time in Taizz, Yemen’s third largest city. Houthi-Saleh forces indiscriminately shelled a residential neighborhood killing three children – two of whom were playing football – and gravely wounding nine more, activists said. The same day, a world away, the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva was debating whether to create an international inquiry into all side’s abuses in Yemen’s armed conflict.

The war has taken a particularly heavy toll on Taizz. For over two years, Houthi-Saleh forces have fired artillery indiscriminately into the city. Human Rights Watch has documented repeated attacks that have struck the city’s populated neighborhoods, killing and wounding civilians, including children. The attacks we’ve documented are a tiny fraction of the deadly bombardment Taizz’s residents have endured. We’ve seen list after list, photo after photo, video after video of lethal attacks documented by local activists. The shelling of Taizz, the UN human rights office reports, has been “unrelenting.”

A Houthi-Saleh artillery attack hit this home in a residential neighborhood in Taizz, Yemen on September 15, 2017. The attack, along with another that afternoon, killed three children and gravely wounded nine more.

© 2017 Maher al-Absi

In the face of these laws-of-war violations, many likely war crimes, the world remains largely silent.

Governments in Geneva should not need Friday’s attack for the plight of Yemeni civilians to get their attention, or to act to hold perpetrators on both sides to account.

But so far the Human Rights Council has failed to agree on setting up an independent, international inquiry into wartime abuses, despite plentiful evidence that Houthi-Saleh forces and the Saudi-led coalition – which killed at least 33 children in six airstrikes over the past three months – have been repeatedly violating the laws of war.

Delegates in Geneva: The next time you walk by the Broken Chair, a memorial to victims of landmines and cluster munitions outside the UN – think of Yemen, think of Taizz. Taizz, where landmines remain littered after Houthi-Saleh forces laid them, where a 12-year-old boy grazing sheep, a mother of six, and many more have lost their limbs and their loved ones. Where coalition airstrikes have wiped out entire families. Where unrelenting, indiscriminate shelling continues.

Yemeni children need so much more. The Human Rights Council cannot afford to fail them again.

Author: Human Rights Watch
Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am

On September 12, Ghana’s new President Nana Akufo-Addo made good on his campaign promise to deliver free secondary education for children across the country.

The President pledged “there will be no admission fees, no library fees, no science center fees, no computer laboratory fees, no examination fees, no utility fees. There will be free textbooks, free boarding and free meals, and day students will get a meal at school for free.” All great news for Ghana’s more than 400,000 students entering secondary school this year.

Globally, many students’ educational aspirations end because of secondary school fees. In Ghana, in 2014, only 37 percent of students were enrolled in secondary education.

Removing these fees is a big step toward helping students stay in school. But other barriers to education, which disproportionately impact Ghana’s poorest and rural families, should be tackled, too.

For example, we recently investigated the effect of Tanzania removing lower secondary education fees in 2016. We saw that the poorest students still found it difficult to go to school. Other costs related to school, like food and uniforms, burdened their limited family income. In rural areas, it can be a long distance to the closest secondary school. This meant added transportation costs, as well as difficult or unsafe journey to school. Many girls who live apart from their families lacked affordable, safe housing close to schools.

In his announcement, Ghana’s president also said that “we will ensure that students from basic public schools have equal opportunity to enrol in any of the top senior high schools in the country.”

However, there are only a handful of these top public high schools, and they accept a limited number of students. To ensure all children will benefit equally from free secondary education, the government should invest in high schools everywhere in the country.

It’s commendable that Ghana wants to guarantee fully free secondary education. With the government’s commitment, taking additional steps to make this happen will truly help all the country’s children.

Author: Human Rights Watch
Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am

"Majida" and her brother "Ziyat" from Iraq live in the camp of Vial on Chios island since May 2017. They do not go to school, but study English and Greek in courses offered by a nongovernmental group. 

© Simon Rau for Human Rights Watch 2017

(Athens) – Greece’s Education Ministry should move quickly to implement positive new plans for the education of asylum-seeking children on the Aegean islands and make schools accessible to all of them, Human Rights Watch said today. When the school year began on September 11, 2017, hundreds of asylum-seeking children who are being prevented from leaving the islands due to a European Union deal with Turkey remained out of school.

Greece will extend a program that provides special Greek classes and integration support for non-native speaking pupils to asylum-seeking children on the islands. But this program excludes children in the so-called refugee hotspots and other reception facilities who cannot obtain the proof of address required to enroll in school. To reach children in these facilities, the Education Ministry recently announced it would open afternoon classes at public schools on the islands.

“Greece’s Education Ministry has crucial work ahead as it attempts to improve the country’s dismal record of denying access to school to children seeking asylum on the islands,” said Simon Rau, Mercator fellow at Human Rights Watch. “Children who have fled hellish conditions in search of safety in Europe need the support and hope a classroom provides and cannot wait until much of the school year has passed.”

The new integration program and the afternoon classes will both exclude children over age 15, and a delay in providing vaccinations to asylum-seeking children poses problems because vaccinations are required for school enrollment. The ministry estimates that both programs will start in mid-October.

The Education Ministry should extend the programs to make formal education accessible to all asylum-seeking children of school-age as soon as possible, including for children over 15. It should speed up vaccinations so that the vaccination requirement is not a barrier to the right of all children to education. The ministry should end the arbitrary exclusion of children in refugee camps on the islands from public schools by opening the promised afternoon classes for them as soon as possible, and ensuring that they can obtain a proof of address to enroll.

In late August, Human Rights Watch interviewed 47 children ages 6 to 17 and/or their parents, who had arrived on the Greek islands of Lesbos, Samos, and Chios before the end of the last school year. None had gone to school there. “Aram,” a father from Kobane, Syria, who has been living with his four school-age children in the Kara Tepe camp on Lesbos for more than a year said: “Without education they lose their future, but they have not done anything wrong.”

Under Greek law, all asylum-seeking children in the country have the right to enroll in public schools. However, during the 2016-2017 school year, only 40 asylum-seeking children on the island of Lesbos could enroll in school, while about 530 asylum-seeking children of school age – ages 6 to 17 – were on the island as of August 29, according to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) officials on the island. According to UNHCR on Chios, the island had 261 asylum-seeking children of school age in late August/early September, but not a single asylum-seeking child had been able to enroll in school in the 2016-2017 school year. On Samos, seven asylum-seeking children had enrolled, but 374 children of school age were registered on the island with UNHCR as of August.

In the 2016-2017 school year, Greece opened so-called afternoon preparatory (DYEP) classes to integrate asylum-seeking children into public schools on the Greek mainland. Enrolled children could attend lessons in Greek, English, mathematics, sports, arts, and computer science between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

By March, 2,643 had enrolled, but the program did not cover the islands. A report by an expert committee on education for refugee children in Greece said the Ministry of Migration Policy had set the restriction. On September 13, the Education Ministry told Human Rights Watch that it expected afternoon classes for asylum-seeking children in camps on the islands to open by mid-October, about a month after the school year in Greece began. The Ministry of Migration Policy should support opening public schools on the islands to all asylum-seeking children.

The Greek government’s “Zones of Educational Priorities” (ZEP) program allows public schools with nine or more registered pupils who are not Greek native speakers to set up an “integration” class. Children in these classes receive special lessons in Greek, English, science, and mathematics to prepare them for full integration into Greek schools. They join their Greek peers in other classes, such as sports, information technology, and music.

For the 2017-2018 school year, the Education Ministry has secured funding for 700 ZEP classes across the country. A UNHCR official told Human Rights Watch that the program would be the first opportunity for asylum-seeking children on Chios to go to school.

That the ZEP classes will not open before mid-October risks causing children to drop out despite the new program, as they have to start the school year without the support of special classes. Eight-year-old “Sanya,” from Syria, told Human Rights Watch that she looked forward to going to school on Lesbos, but her father Kamal worried that she may struggle with the Greek language.

All asylum-seeking children on the Greek mainland, including those in refugee camps, are eligible to join a ZEP class. On the islands, however, the program will exclude children living in camps, because they cannot obtain the proof of address required for school enrollment. On Samos, only 52 of the 374 asylum-seeking children ages 6 to 17 registered with UNHCR in August lived outside camps. In late August/early September on Chios, 43 of the 261 children ages 6 to 17 did, as did about a quarter of the 1,419 children on Lesbos as of July 31.

Greek law requires certain vaccinations for school enrollment, but these are not available for all asylum-seeking children before the beginning of the school year. According to a coordinator for Médecins Sans Frontières, an international medical humanitarian organization that provides medical services to asylum-seekers in Greece, a lack of coordination between the Ministries of Health, Education, and Migration Policy is causing vaccination delays. While vaccinations were expected to be finalized for all children eligible for ZEP classes on Samos and Chios by mid-September, this may take until mid-October on Lesbos, said UNHCR officials on the islands.

“Greece promised to make public schools accessible to asylum-seeking children last year, but completely left out children on the islands,” Rau said. “The new plans are laudable progress, but asylum-seeking children on the islands cannot wait any longer for Greece to fulfil their basic right to education.”

 

Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am

A group of Doctors meet in the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi October 4, 2013. 

© 2013 Reuters

“As pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists, we care about the health and dignity of all children,” the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) wrote in response to a report on intersex youth that Human Rights Watch launched in July.

This weekend, as the AAP, an organization of 66,000 pediatricians across the United States, convenes in Chicago for their annual gathering, we urge members to stand by this commitment and discuss establishing clear AAP guidelines to protect intersex kids across the country.

Intersex people – whose chromosomes, gonads, and sex organs don’t match up with what is generally considered typically “female” or “male” – make up nearly two percent of the human population.

One of the reasons we hear so little about intersex people is that doctors often perform surgery on them when they are still infants to make their bodies appear more unambiguously “female” or “male.” Some physicians argue that the irreversible interventions make it easier for kids to grow up “normal” or avoid bullying or harassment. But the results are often catastrophic, and the supposed benefits largely unproven. It is rare that urgent health considerations require immediate, irreversible intervention.

One of the many risks of doctors operating on children’s gonads, internal sex organs, and genitals when they are too young to participate in the decision is that a sex is assigned that does not match the individual’s lived gender identity as it develops. Other risks include incontinence, sterilization, loss of sexual sensation, scarring, and psychological trauma.

In our report, we recommended the AAP develop a policy on medically unnecessary and non-consensual surgeries on intersex children that is consistent with APP standards on Assent, Informed Permission and Consent, and on female genital mutilation.

Chicago’s LGBT center, the Center on Halsted, has welcomed the AAP to the city and encouraged them to endorse a moratorium on medically unnecessary surgeries on intersex kids. Human Rights Watch and interACT are joined by United Nations experts, the World Health Organization, Amnesty International, every major LGBT legal organization in the US, three former US surgeons general, and intersex-led organizations around the world in calling for an end to medically unnecessary non-consensual surgeries on intersex kids. The American Medical Association Board of Trustees this year recommended respect for intersex children’s rights to autonomy and informed consent.

It’s time for the AAP to do the same. 

Author: Human Rights Watch
Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am

Millions of dollars in aid money pledged to get Syrian refugee children in school last year did not reach them, arrived late, or could not be traced due to poor reporting practices.

In a report released today, “Following the Money: Lack of Transparency in Donor Funding for Syrian Refugee Education,” Human Rights Watch tracks pledges made at a conference in London in February 2016. We followed the money trail from the largest donors to education in LebanonTurkey, and Jordan, the three countries with the largest number of Syrian refugees, but found large discrepancies between the funds that the various parties said were given and the reported amounts that reached their intended targets in 2016. The lack of timely, transparent funding contributed to the fact that more than 530,000 Syrian children in those three countries were still out of school at the end of the 2016-2017 school year.

Donors and the refugee-hosting countries that neighbor Syria agreed at the London conference to enrol all Syrian refugee children in “quality education” by the end of the 2016-2017 school year – and to provide the needed funds. According to the six donors that pledged the biggest sums – the European Union, the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Norway – their contributions alone exceeded the overall 2016 target of US$1.4 billion for education inside Syria and for refugee-hosting countries in the region. Yet, education budgets in countries hosting refugees were substantially underfunded.

Of the funding that was delivered, much came late, rather than well before the school year as London conference participants had agreed. As of early September 2016, funding for education in Jordan was still 69 percent short of targets under a UN-coordinated aid plan, and 47 percent short in Lebanon. The failure to deliver aid before the school year limits school systems’ capacity to hire and train teachers, purchase textbooks, and plan student intake, with the result that fewer Syrian children are able to realize their right to education.

In seeking to identify the source and impact of these funding shortfalls, our research revealed several underlying problems:

  • A lack of consistent, detailed, timely reporting by donors, which often made it difficult or impossible to determine how much support individual donors have given for education in each host country, and when it arrived.
  • Lack of information about the projects donors are funding, and their timetables. Public fund-tracking reports, databases, and other mechanisms often lack enough information to assess whether the projects being funded addressed the key obstacles to education for Syrian children,
  • Inconsistent information about school enrollment, making it difficult to assess progress. Data are often based on different criteria, were collected at different times, or may account only for enrollment at the beginning of the school year rather than continued attendance.
  • Inconsistent education targets and goals set by donors and host countries. The London conference co-hosts announced that all participants had agreed to enroll all Syrian children by 2017, but the Lebanese government announced a 5-year educational plan at the conference that will still leave more than 156,000 Syrian children out of public schools by 2021.

In the face of these challenges, there are several things Sweden, and the larger donor community, could do. As a large donor both bilaterally and through the EU, Sweden should seek to ensure that there is more detailed, comprehensive information on education aid to assess whether donors have met their own pledges and provided aid in a timely way, and whether the activities being funded address key obstacles that are keeping thousands of Syrian refugee children out of school. Sweden, as well as other donors, implementing agencies, and host governments need to know what programs are being funded to coordinate their efforts and avoid gaps or overlaps in aid.

Greater transparency could help to show why enrollment goals are being missed, identify the responsible parties, and pressure them to improve. It could pinpoint the extent to which host country policies, as opposed to insufficient donor funding, are keeping children out of school. 

Any earmarking of funding for education should not result in shifting funding from other urgent needs, or tying the hands of implementing agencies or host country governments that may be best-placed to assess where resources are needed.  Also, more funding may not help if host countries’ policies undermine children’s access to school. In some provinces in Turkey, for instance, Syrian refugees can face indefinite delays getting the identification card that children need to enroll in public schools. Lebanon has issued virtually no work permits to Syrian refugees, and many refugee families cannot afford school-related costs.

But in cases in which donors have pledged to support educational goals, failure to meet those pledges may undermine budgeting and planning education programs, harming the children whose access to school hangs in the balance. Donors should meet their own commitments for the amounts pledged, and ensure that their funding is more transparent, targeted, and timely.

To prevent a lost generation of Syrian children and help realize their right to education, the government should redouble the efforts to ensure that Sweden, EU, other donors and host countries improve transparency and accountability. They should publish up-to-date, detailed information on all funding committed, and received, to support education for Syrian and vulnerable host community children in Syria and neighboring countries, including multi-year commitments and disbursal dates.

They should also renew efforts to identify and overcome barriers that have thwarted universal enrollment for Syrian refugee children, revising policies accordingly, and publish data on school enrollment and attendance that are comparable, up-to-date, disaggregated by age and gender, and that account for dropouts.

Sweden, other donors, and host countries have promised that Syrian children will not become a lost generation, but this is exactly what is happening. More transparency in funding would help reveal the needs that aren’t being met so they could be addressed and get children into school.

Author: Human Rights Watch
Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am

Summary

Since 2011, violence in Syria has forcibly displaced at least 1.6 million school-age children to other countries in the region. Before the conflict, more than 90 percent of Syrian children attended primary school and 70 percent attended secondary school. By the fall of 2015, despite international support to prevent a “lost generation,” only around 50 percent of Syrian refugee children in the region were enrolled in school.

Host countries and foreign donors are crucial partners if Syrian refugee children are to realize their right to education. But Human Rights Watch’s previous research in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan has shown that host country policies have created obstacles to their education, including restrictions that exacerbate poverty and add to pressures for children to work or marry rather than go to school. In addition, since local resources are insufficient, Syrian children’s access to education also depends on the effective delivery of adequate international aid, which has often been lacking.

This report tracks donors’ fulfillment of their pledges to support education for Syrian refugees in 2016. It focuses on pledges made at a major conference in February 2016 in London, where donors—the six largest were the European Union, US, Germany, United Kingdom, Norway, and Japan—committed to provide $1.4 billion in funding for education inside Syria and in neighboring countries, and agreed with refugee-hosting countries to enroll all Syrian refugee children, as well as vulnerable children in host communities, in “quality education” by the end of the 2016-2017 school year.

Overall education funding in 2016 exceeded the conference’s target of $1.4 billion, and enrollment has increased since then. However, at least 530,000 Syrian children are still not receiving any education in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan—the three countries hosting the largest numbers of Syrian refugee children—and donors missed the specific funding targets for Jordan and Lebanon that conference participants endorsed.

For example, the London conference put Lebanon’s annual education needs at $350 million, yet the United Nations reported that, in 2016, Lebanon received only $253 million for education under a UN-coordinated aid plan—a $97 million shortfall. The six donors reported that in 2016 they gave $223.4 million for education in Lebanon.

Similarly, Jordan did not receive enough education funding, but different sources offer widely differing accounts of how much it did receive. London conference participants agreed that Jordan needed $1 billion over three years for education, of which Jordan budgeted $249.6 million for 2016. But by the end of the year, Jordan reported that it had received just $179.1 million for education, a $70.5 million shortfall. An update that Jordan published later stated that the total figure was $208.4 million, a $41.2 million shortfall. Yet, according to the six donors, they gave $379.2 million to education in Jordan in 2016.

Of the funding that was delivered, much came late, rather than well before the school year as London conference participants had agreed: as of early September 2016, funding for education in Jordan was still 69 percent short of targets under a UN-coordinated aid plan, and 47 percent short in Lebanon. The failure to deliver aid before the school year limits school systems’ capacity to hire and train teachers, purchase textbooks, and plan student intake, with the result that fewer Syrian children are able to realize their right to education.

Main Problems

In seeking to identify the source and impact of these funding shortfalls, our research revealed several main underlying problems:

  • Lack of consistent, detailed, timely reporting by donors, which often made it difficult or impossible to determine how much support individual donors have given to education in each host country, and when. Several donors told Human Rights Watch they had made multi-year commitments to fund education, but the UK is the only donor that has published detailed information about multi-year funding commitments to both the Lebanese and Jordanian governments’ education plans.
  • Lack of information about the projects donors are funding, and their timing. Public fund-tracking reports, databases, and other mechanisms often lack enough information to assess whether funding addressed the key obstacles to education for Syrian children, such as a lack of access for secondary-school-age children and children with disabilities, as well as when funds are committed or disbursed. Some donors have counted project funds to be disbursed in future years against their 2016 pledges. Germany, for instance, counted a €15 (US$15.75 at the time) million project that will run to 2019 this way.
  • Inconsistent information about school enrollment, which makes it difficult to assess progress. Data are often based on different criteria, were collected at different times, or may account only for enrollment at the beginning of the school year rather than continued attendance. In Jordan, the government reported substantially increased enrollment figures after the London conference, but then improved its enrollment-tracking system, revealing that fewer Syrians went to school than previously estimated for the 2015-2016 school year.
  • Inconsistent education targets and goals set by donors and host countries. The London conference co-hosts announced that all participants had agreed to enroll all Syrian children by 2017, but the Lebanese government announced a 5-year educational plan at the conference that will still leave more than 156,000 Syrian children out of public schools by 2021.

Ways Forward

More detailed, comprehensive information on education aid is needed to assess whether donors have met their own pledges and provided aid in a timely way, and whether the activities being funded address key obstacles that are hampering the realization of the right to education for hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugee children. Donors, implementing agencies, and host governments need to know what programs are being funded in order to coordinate their efforts effectively and avoid gaps or overlaps in aid.

Greater transparency could help to show why enrollment goals are being missed, identify the responsible parties, and pressure them to improve. It could pinpoint the extent to which host country policies, as opposed to insufficient donor funding, are keeping children out of school. 

This report does not call on donors to increase or earmark funding for education if doing so would shift funding from other humanitarian needs, or tie the hands of implementing agencies or host country governments that may be best-placed to assess where resources are needed.  Also, more funding may not help if host countries’ policies undermine children’s access to school. In some provinces in Turkey, for instance, Syrian refugees can face indefinite delays getting the identification card that children need to enroll in public schools. Lebanon has issued virtually no work permits to Syrian refugees, and many refugee families cannot afford school-related costs.

But in cases where donors have pledged to support educational goals, failure to meet those pledges may undermine the budgeting and planning of education programs, harming the children whose access to school hangs in the balance. Donors should meet their own commitments to give the amounts pledged, and ensure their funding is more transparent, targeted, and timely.

Donors have long acknowledged the need to improve aid transparency. In 2011, donors including those profiled in this report, pledged to increase transparency for development aid by the end of 2015; in May 2016, they committed to transparency for humanitarian funding by 2018. Specifically, donors pledged to use a common standard to publish comparable, timely, detailed, and comprehensive aid information. But as of February 2017, only Germany and the United Kingdom had accordingly published figures on 2016 aid for education in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey that roughly matched the sums which the donors themselves reported to Human Rights Watch.

To prevent a lost generation of Syrian children and help realize their right to education, donors and host countries should improve transparency and accountability by:

  • Publishing up-to-date, detailed information on all funding committed, and received, to support education for Syrian and vulnerable host community children in Syria and neighboring countries, including on multi-annual commitments and commitment and disbursal dates; and
  • Renewing efforts to identify and overcome barriers that have thwarted universal enrollment for Syrian refugee children, revising policies accordingly, and publishing data on school enrollment and attendance that are comparable, up-to-date, disaggregated by age and gender, and account for dropouts.

Recommendations

To Donors

  • Make multi-annual, country-specific funding pledges for education, to enable host countries to realize the education aims endorsed at the London Conference.
  • Act on commitments to increase aid transparency by publishing timely and comprehensive data on funding for education in Syria and neighboring countries in the International Aid Transparency Initiative Standard.

To the London Conference Co-Hosts

  • Provide a breakdown of education funds for Syria and the region by donor and recipient country in future reports on fulfillment of aid pledges and publish the underlying data.

To the European Union’s Directorates-General ECHO and NEAR and the European External Action Service

  • Include detailed information on all aid, including multi-annual commitments, for education in Syria and the region in the public fund-tracking database (EDRIS) maintained by the Directorate-General ECHO or in the EU Aid Explorer.

To the EU’s Directorate-General NEAR

  • Publish data on all funded projects in the International Aid Transparency Initiative Standard and include information on contracted amounts as “commitments.”
  • Publish the same level of detailed information on projects funded by the Madad Fund as it is done for the Facility for Refugees in Turkey.

To the United States State Department and US Agency for International Development

  • Ensure that the Foreign Aid Explorer and ForeignAssistance.gov contain correct and detailed information on all aid for education in Syria and neighboring countries, including on multi-annual commitments.
  • Publish comprehensive data on aid in the International Aid Transparency Initiative Standard; ensure that the data are correctly formatted so that education projects can be identified by querying the International Aid Transparency Initiative Registry.

To the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

  • Ensure that that project data published in the International Aid Transparency Standard is updated, classifies all projects supporting education in Syria and neighboring countries as “education,” and includes commitment dates.
  • Ensure that the fund-tracking portal “Projektdaten-Visualisierung” displays information on commitments and disbursements, a fine-grained sector classification, and a sector breakdown between project components.

To the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development

  • Ensure that data published in the International Aid Transparency Initiative Standard correctly list education components for all grants.

To the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation

  • Ensure that commitment dates of all education grants to Syria and neighboring countries are included in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Grants Portal, to show the amount of education funds made available before the beginning of the school year.
  • Publish comprehensive and timely information on aid in the International Aid Transparency Initiative Standard. 

To the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

  • Publish comprehensive, detailed, and timely information on all aid for education in Syria and its neighboring countries in the International Aid Transparency Initiative Standard, including on multi-annual commitments.

To the International Aid Transparency Initiative

  • Ensure that the International Aid Transparency Initiative Standard includes a detailed sector classification in data on humanitarian aid. The classification should be in accordance with the Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s standard sectors.

To Host Country Governments

  • Cooperate with the United Nations to regularly publish comparable, up-to-date attendance data for Syrian school-age children that account for dropouts during the school year. Break the figures down between participation in formal, non-formal, and informal education; and enrollment in pre-primary, primary, lower- and higher-secondary education.
  • Make work permits more accessible to reduce poverty-related barriers to education by abolishing requirements for sponsorship by an employer.
  • In cooperation with donors:
    • Set and meet higher targets to increase access to secondary education and vocational training for refugee and host community children,
    • Set and meet higher targets to increase access to education for refugee and host country children with disabilities,
    • Increase access to quality, non-formal education for children who have been out of school for years or are unable to access formal education.
    • Enforce bans on corporal punishment at school, hold teachers accountable for corporal punishment of students, and ensure that allegations of corporal punishment, harassment, or discrimination are investigated and redressed.

To the Jordanian and Lebanese Governments

  • Allow qualified Syrian teachers to teach in accredited programs.

To the Lebanese and Turkish Governments

  • Publish updated, detailed information on all international aid received in response to the Syria crisis, and indicate the amount received, the date, recipient, and use or project.
  • In cooperation with donors, increase access to programs offering language support and accelerated language learning for Syrian children.

To the Jordanian Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation

  • Include a breakdown by donor of education funding under the Jordan Response Plan in published funding updates.
  • Include budget aid and funding for projects implemented by ministries that are received under the Jordan Response Plan in the Jordan Response Information System for the Syria Crisis project search.

To the Lebanese Government

  • Extend the waiver of residency fees to all refugees in the country, and ensure that it is consistently applied by all General Security offices.
  • In cooperation with donors, implement schemes to create jobs for Lebanese and Syrians as announced at the London conference.

To the Turkish Government

  • Establish transparent targets for international aid necessary to achieve universal school enrollment of Syrian and vulnerable host community children in Turkey.
  • Clear the backlog of identification card (kimlik) applications, and make sure that all refugee children can enroll as guest students while awaiting their documentation.

Methodology

This report is based on analysis of public reporting by United Nations agencies; the governments of Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan; and the six largest donors to education in the Syria context: the European Union, United States, Germany, United Kingdom, Norway and Japan. Human Rights Watch reviewed reports on the fulfillment of funding pledges made at the London conference; UN and Jordanian mechanisms to track funds given under the UN-coordinated 3RP regional aid plan for the Syria crisis; a global financial tracking database maintained by the UN’s humanitarian coordination agency (OCHA); data published in the International Aid Transparency Initiative Standard; and public databases and other figures.

Human Rights Watch also emailed officials responsible for development and humanitarian assistance from the EU, US, Germany, UK, Norway, and Japan, and requested information on the amount of 2016 aid made available for education in Syria and of Syrian and vulnerable host community children in the region. We also requested information on the projects being supported. All donors provided replies.  We shared our preliminary findings in meetings with EU and German officials and in letters to other donor countries; this report reflects their responses.

Human Rights Watch requested and received information on 2016 donor funding from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) offices in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey; the UN Educational, Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Lebanon and Jordan; the Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Lebanon, and International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Turkey.

The London Conference did not specify if 2016 funding pledges referred to funds to be committed, contracted, or disbursed in that year. Some donors reported disbursed funds, others reported contracted or committed funds, or did not specify. Where possible, this report indicates if figures refer to commitments, contracted sums, or disbursements.

All currencies are converted into US dollars at the rates used by the London conference co-hosts to convert funding pledges into US dollars: $1.05/€1; $1.43/£1; $0.12/NOK 1.[1]

I. Background

Syrian Refugee Children's Right to Education

Under the international legal principles codified in the conventions on children’s rights; on economic, social and cultural rights; and on the elimination of discrimination, Syrian refugee children have the right to free primary education and generally accessible secondary education without discrimination.

Countries hosting Syrian refugees are party to a number of international treaties that provide that primary education shall be “compulsory and available free to all” and that secondary education “shall be made generally available and accessible to all.”[2] For children who have not received or completed their primary education, “[f]undamental education shall be encouraged or intensified.”[3] Governments also have an obligation to “[t]ake measures to encourage regular attendance at schools and the reduction of drop-out rates.”[4]

International law prohibits discrimination on grounds such as religion, ethnicity, social origin, or other status.[5] A government that fails to provide a significant number of individuals “the most basic forms of education is, prima facie, failing to discharge its obligations” under the right to education.[6]

The Convention on the Rights of the Child provides that “with regard to economic, social and cultural rights,” which include the right to education, “States Parties shall undertake such measures to the maximum extent of their available resources and, where needed, within the framework of international co-operation.”[7]

Enrollment and Out-of-School Numbers

Since 2011, the Syria conflict has forcibly displaced 1.6 million school-age children from Syria to Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey.[8]

Before the conflict, more than 90 percent of children in Syria attended primary school and 70 percent attended secondary school.[9] In contrast, during the 2015-2016 school year, nearly 50 percent of Syrian refugee children in the region were not receiving any education. At that time, in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, at least 715,000 of 1.46 million Syrian refugee children ages 5 to 17 were deprived of their right to education.[10]

At the February 2016 London Conference, donors and host countries committed to enroll all Syrian refugee children ages 5 to 17, as well as vulnerable children in host communities, into formal or non-formal “quality education” by the end of the 2016-2017 school year. No country achieved this goal.[11] As of December 2016, at least 530,000 out of 1.48 million Syrian refugee children were not receiving any education.

Information about enrollment is inconsistent, however, and it is consequently difficult to assess progress towards universal enrollment, as is discussed in chapter 3.

London Conference on Syria

At a conference in London in February 2016, donors and host countries agreed on $12 billion in support to Syria and the region, “the largest amount ever raised in a single day for a humanitarian crisis,” according to the co-hosts. [12] Amongst other pledges, donors committed to provide $1.4 billion in funding for education inside Syria and in neighboring countries annually; of this total, about $250 million should have been delivered to Jordan and $350 million to Lebanon in 2016. No specific target was endorsed for Turkey.

Main Aid-Tracking Mechanisms

Mechanisms to track the delivery of aid, including for education, include reports and databases published by UN agencies that coordinate international aid in response to the Syria crisis, the London Conference co-hosts, recipient governments, and donors. The shortcomings of the information available from these sources are discussed in chapter 2.

II. Budgeted Education Needs Not Met, Aid Provided Late

Donors over-fulfilled the overall funding needs for education assessed at the London conference. Participants noted that at least $1.4 billion a year from pledges was needed for education.[13] The six largest donors told Human Rights Watch that, in 2016, they had made available education funding of more than $1.5 billion for Syria and the region. But reports on the amount of funding given and received differed significantly, depending on the source. Lebanon and Jordan nonetheless received substantially less education funding than donors had agreed to provide, based on budgeted needs.

London Conference participants recognized that host countries need to receive funding well before the beginning of the school year to hire and train teachers, print textbooks, and prepare classrooms.[14]  But by the start of the 2016-2017 school year, funding for education was still 45 percent short of funding targets under the aid plan.[15]

London Conference participants also called for multi-year, predictable funding commitments, to allow host countries to plan student intake, but there is little public information on respective commitments.[16] The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development for example informed Human Rights Watch that all its 2016 education funding commitments in response to the Syria crisis are part of multi-annual commitments, but this was not reflected in the public information reviewed for this report.[17]

A lack of transparent and consistent reporting means that it is often impossible to determine how much money a host country has received for education, or how much it can expect to receive in coming years. These circumstances impede coordination between donors, host countries and other actors like United Nations agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and lead to short-term education planning. As a result, the efficiency and quality of education programs are limited, and more children are denied their right to education.

Jordan

The London Conference agreed to provide Jordan $1 billion over three years for universal education for refugees and vulnerable Jordanian children.[18] Of this Jordan budgeted $249.6 million for 2016.[19] But Jordan, the London Conference co-hosts, and individual donors provided substantially different information as to the fulfillment of these pledges.

According to the Jordanian government, as of January 3, 2017, donors had delivered only $179.1 million in education funding for 2016 under the Jordan Response Plan, leaving an education budget shortfall of $70.5 million.[20] In April 2017, Jordan stated that the total 2016 education funding received was $208.4 million, a $41.2 million shortfall.[21]

Of the funding that was received, more than $100 million was delivered only after the school year began.[22] Jordan said that by September 6, 2016, it had received only $78.7 million in education funding underpinned by a grant agreement or firm commitment letter.[23] The London Conference co-hosts, however, reported that, as of September, participants had already provided $245.1 million,[24] and $302.2 million by the end of 2016.[25]

The six major donors provided still different figures. According to these donors, they had provided Jordan with education funding of $377.2 million in 2016.[26] Some donors reported multi-year total sums towards the fulfillment of their pledge for 2016, which may explain this discrepancy. This practice obscures whether or not annual funding needs have been met. The United States’ figure in particular appears too high, which may in part be because the US reported funding given during the US fiscal year, not the 2016 calendar year (see analysis of US funding below).

In other cases, donors seem to have underreported their own contributions. According to information that European Union officials provided to Human Rights Watch, the EU had provided only $29.6 million (28.2 million) for education in Jordan in 2016, but Jordan reported that it received $51.4 million (49 million).[27]

Lebanon

The London Conference endorsed a Lebanese estimate of costs for education at $350 million per year over five years, as part of an educational plan called Reaching All Children with Education II (RACE II).[28] The UN-coordinated Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) for the Syria conflict requested $388.2 million for education in Lebanon in 2016, which includes RACE II requirements.[29]

Available information from the UN-coordinated 3RP aid plan indicates that that there was a $180.9 million shortfall for education funding in Lebanon at the start of the 2016 school year.[30] By the end of 2016, a $135 million gap remained for the education sector.[31]

The London Conference co-hosts reported different figures. As of September 2016, coinciding with the beginning of the school year, conference participants had provided $112.4 million for education in Lebanon,[32] and $198.8 million by the end of 2016.[33]

The six largest donors said, however, that they had given Lebanon $249.8 million in education funding by the end of 2016.[34]

Turkey

The London Conference did not endorse a specific funding target for education of Syrian and vulnerable host community children in Turkey, but the Turkish government assessed the cost of its three-year strategy to achieve universal schooling for Syrian children at $2.7 billion, including $1.17 billion in 2016.[35]

UN aid appeals for Turkey were low relative to Jordan and Lebanon, which host fewer refugees, but were nonetheless underfunded. UN agencies appealed for $137 million to support refugee education in Turkey in 2016 under the 3RP aid plan.[36] At year’s end, $111 million had been received under the 3RP, leaving a gap of $26 million.[37]

The data about the amount of aid available at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year is incomplete and contradictory. As of September 15, 2016 UN agencies reported aid of $46 million for education in Turkey under the 3RP aid plan, but that number had not been updated since May.[38] The London Conference co-hosts reported that as of September 2016, participants had provided $21.9 million for education in Turkey; but in a second report from February 2017, that number was corrected downward to $14.7 million.[39]

The EU, Germany, Japan, and Norway reported that they had provided $741.9 million in education funding by the end of 2016.[40] The US did not indicate the amount of its aid to Turkey that supports education, and the United Kingdom did not report education aid to Turkey.[41]

III. Lack of Transparency in Education Aid Reporting

Public reporting about the amount, timing, and activities carried out with education aid under the London funding pledges is needed to assess whether donors have met their own pledges, and whether the activities being funded address key obstacles to education. If donors, implementing agencies, and host governments lack information as to which programs are being funded, and when, it will be extremely difficult for them to coordinate efforts and avoid gaps or overlaps in aid. Clarity about aid can help pinpoint the reasons why, despite donor support, hundreds of thousands of Syrian children still lack access to education, and focus pressure on responsible parties to fix problems. 

Current public aid-tracking mechanisms, analyzed below, are inadequate. It is often impossible to determine how much funding a particular donor has given, when, and if it addressed key barriers to education (see Table 1). Available data are frequently difficult to compare to different years, or to different countries, and different sources provide apparently contradictory data. Donors have been pledging for years to improve and standardize their reporting of aid. Unless they do so, it will be impossible to know if they are living up to their promises to Syrian children.

London Conference Financial Tracking

The London Conference’s co-hosts—the United Kingdom, Germany, Kuwait, Norway, and the United Nations—reported in February 2017 that participants had committed and disbursed $7.955 billion in overall humanitarian support for Syria and the region in 2016, over-fulfilling the $6 billion funding target.  Further reports on pledge fulfillment are planned for 2017, but none had been published as of July 20, 2017.[42]

The co-hosts’ reports are a positive step to create accountability for the delivery of the London pledges. But while they do indicate funding for different sectors, including education, they do not break down funding by donor, which makes it impossible to identify sums made available by individual conference participants. Human Rights Watch requested this information from the UK Department for International Development (DFID), which commissioned the reports, but DFID declined because it did not have conference participants’ consent.[43]  

UN Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) Financial Tracking

The UN’s Inter-agency Financial Tracking System reports on funds for education for refugee children and children from host communities in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, and Iraq received by nongovernmental groups and UN agencies under the UN-coordinated 3RP regional aid plan for the Syria crisis on a quarterly basis.[44] It does not account for aid to the governments of recipient countries under the aid plan.

The system breaks data down by receiving country, but not by donor and project.[45]

Although the London Conference funding aims were aligned with the 3RP,[46] conference participants may have made funds for education available outside the plan.

The tracking system can indicate whether funding targets for educating Syrian and vulnerable host community children have been met, but is insufficiently detailed to determine whether donors have met their London Conference pledges.

The tracking system reported on figures for overall education funding under the 3RP as of September 30, 2016.[47] The numbers it presented for Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey were however compiled on different dates, and based on different criteria.[48]

In Jordan, the tracking system only reports on funding to refugee education programs—68 percent of total funding requirements—but not funding to benefit longer-term educational needs of refugee children and vulnerable children in host communities. The Jordan update for the third quarter of 2016 was up-to-date as of September 30.[49]

For Lebanon, the tracking system included funds received by UN agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) as of August 31, 2016.[50]

For Turkey, data only address funding to UN agencies; funding disbursed via NGOs is not accounted for, as these did not participate in the 2016 aid plan. UNHCR released an update on September 15, but the figures had not been updated since May.[51] The overall figures for the 3RP thus only very roughly indicate how much funding was available for education by the beginning of the school year that starts in September 2017.

UN OCHA Financial Tracking Service

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) operates a public online database, called the Financial Tracking Service, that aims to track all humanitarian funding worldwide and breaks the data down by donor and project.[52] It reports on donor funding to projects in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan, including those in and out of the UN-coordinated regional aid plan 3RP.[53] However, it does not report which projects under the 3RP address education; such a breakdown is provided only for projects outside the 3RP.

Because the database relies on voluntary reporting by donors and recipients, the detail, reliability, and comprehensiveness of entries vary greatly. Norway, for instance, appears to report for every contribution to the regional aid plan if it supports an education project, but most other donors do not do so systematically.[54]

The European Union channels large parts of its aid to Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan via its Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syria Crisis (Madad Fund), but does not report this funding to the database, possibly because the fund “focuses on non-humanitarian priority needs” of host communities and Syrian refugees.[55] The Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection of the European Commission (ECHO), which is in charge of humanitarian affairs, by contrast, automatically synchronizes a database with detailed information on all projects it funds with the Financial Tracking Service.[56]  

Jordan Response Plan Financial Tracking

The Jordanian Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, uniquely among host countries, published regular updates on all funding under the Jordan Response Plan (the local chapter of the 3RP aid plan) that was underpinned by a firm commitment letter or grant agreement for disbursal in 2016.[57] The updates break down overall funding by donor, but not for specific sectors such as education.

The government also maintains an online database, the Jordan Response Information System for the Syria Crisis (JORISS), with detailed funding information on projects implemented under the Jordan Response Plan by nongovernmental groups and by some participating UN agencies, and which is broken down by donor. The database does not, however, include projects implemented by Jordanian ministries, including the education ministry, or direct support to the education ministry’s budget.[58]

The Jordanian government reported 2016 education funding of $179 million as of January 3, 2017 against a funding target of $249.6 million. It reported education funding of only $50.4 million to the aid plan’s component that is covered by the Inter-agency Financial Tracking System for Jordan.[59] The discrepancy vis-a-vis the $103 million reported for this component by the Inter-agency Financial Tracking System as of December 31, 2016, may arise because some UN agencies do not report to the Jordanian government how much of their funds finance specific sectors such as education, or because the UN figures include funds committed in 2016 that will only be disbursed in future years.[60]

The strength of the financial tracking under the Jordan Response Plan is that it only includes funds actually disbursed, and not all funds committed, in a given year, which allows an assessment of whether funding needs in a specific year have been met.

International Aid Transparency Initiative

All donors examined in this report agreed to publish data on humanitarian and development aid using a common standard developed by the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) by 2015.[61] The IATI format allows actors to publish comparable, timely, detailed, and comprehensive information about aid flows, greatly increasing transparency.[62] However, as of February 17, 2017, only the UK and Germany had published figures on 2016 education funding to Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey in IATI format which roughly corresponded to the figures that these donors reported to Human Rights Watch upon request.[63]

Although it offers the potential for increased transparency, the IATI standard relies on a sector classification developed for development aid. Humanitarian funds are reported under the sector “emergency response,” and are not broken down further.[64] This makes it impossible to assess the extent to which humanitarian aid supports specific sectors such as education.

Individual Donor Financial Tracking

All the analyzed donors maintain a public fund-tracking database, but only the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Grants Portal reliably shows how much Norway gave for education of refugee children and vulnerable children in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey during 2016 as well as the specific projects that were funded.[65]

The figures we use in this report have limitations. Donors may have underreported the amount of their funding that was ultimately used for education if they gave support to UN agencies or other implementing partners that was not earmarked for education activities, but was used for education. Non-earmarking of funds can allow implementing partners to assess and flexibly respond to needs that may change over time, but the funds should be tracked after disbursal. The Jordanian government’s JORISS database allows this. On the other hand, donors may have overstated funding for children’s education if they included vocational programs or higher education for adults. The prospect of further education can be an important incentive not to drop out of school for children and increases economic opportunities for adults, but funding to these programs should be tracked separately.

European Union

The EU contracted to support education in Syria and the region in 2016 through its humanitarian arm, the Directorate-General ECHO, and through the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (NEAR) that is in charge of affairs concerning the EU’s neighboring countries.[66]

With regard to transparency, ECHO is one of the leaders among the donors we assessed. It maintains a public database with detailed information on all projects it funds; the database breaks individual projects down by their different components, and is automatically synchronized with the UN OCHA’s Financial Tracking Service.[67] When Human Rights Watch examined the ECHO database in October 2016 it did not break down humanitarian aid to education, apparently due to a programming error; we notified ECHO which promptly corrected the problem. 

Other EU funds that support Syria and the region are not reported to the Financial Tracking Service, presumably because they are not considered humanitarian assistance.[68] Important channels of delivery for EU funding are the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey and the Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syria Crisis (Madad Fund), both administered by NEAR.[69] The Facility publishes a regularly updated table with information on all funded projects.[70] The Madad Fund, however, only publishes an overview of so-called financing actions, and documents that detail the sums allocated to these actions as well as their aims and planned implementing partners.[71] Funds allocated to financing actions need to be contracted to implementing partners before disbursement, but no detailed information on contracted projects is publicly available. This makes it impossible to get a detailed overview of the education activities funded by the Madad Fund.

The European External Action Service in Jordan informed Human Rights Watch that it also provides multi-annual funding through budget support to the Jordanian education ministry.[72]

Upon request by Human Rights Watch, ECHO and NEAR collected information on all education funds they contracted in 2016 to Syria and the region. The process took more than two months to complete.[73] When we presented our preliminary findings based on these figures to EU officials, they explained that the numbers previously shared did not correctly reflect all EU aid and provided corrected figures.[74] These experiences indicate that it is difficult even for EU officials to get a complete picture of EU aid made available for education under the EU’s London Conference pledge.

ECHO provided a detailed breakdown of its own 2016 funding for education under the EU’s London pledge. In some instances, ECHO’s fund-tracking database displayed education components for ECHO projects that were smaller than those reported for these projects to Human Rights Watch by ECHO.[75]

A substantial part of the EU’s aid for education of refugees and contracted by NEAR is financed by EU member states, not the EU. It is not clear how this aid can legitimately be counted towards the EU’s pledge concerning funds from the EU budget.[76] NEAR and ECHO told Human Rights Watch that the IATI format permits reporting, as EU funding, funds from instruments that pool money from both the EU budget and from member states.[77]

The EU Commission also maintains the EU Aid Explorer, an aid-tracking portal that aims to include information on all development and humanitarian aid by the EU and its member states.[78] As of early 2017, information available from the portal did not reflect what ECHO and NEAR said they had funded. As of April 6, 2017, browsing the portal for ECHO-financed education projects in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey did not yield any results. A search for EU development projects that supported education in these countries in 2016 yielded only four results, and none of these projects began in 2016.  .  ECHO and NEAR informed Human Rights Watch in September 2017 that the platform had been improved and was now reporting on education projects.[79] As of September 8, the portal listed 16 development projects for education funded by the EU Commission in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, and 5 education projects funded by ECHO in Turkey, for 2016.[80]

ECHO publishes monthly updated data on all funded projects in the IATI format.[81] As of February 17, 2017, the data included information on all projects with education components that ECHO had reported to Human Rights Watch.[82] However, all projects were classified as “emergency response,” and as a result, education projects could not be identified by browsing the IATI data. This is due to a limitation of the IATI standard that does not allow breaking down humanitarian funds by sector.[83]ECHO and NEAR informed Human Rights Watch in September 2017 that changes in the IATI format would soon allow a more detailed breakdown in line with UN OCHA cluster sector categories for humanitarian aid such as “education in emergencies.”[84]

 

NEAR publishes updated data on funded projects in IATI format every month.[85] The data on 2016 education projects published as of February 17, 2017, did however not correspond to the figures reported as contracted by NEAR to Human Rights Watch. The IATI data only details disbursements and expenses (“spend”), but not contracted amounts as “commitments.” The 2016 spend for education in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey was $212.6 million (€202.5 million) and commitments were negative, as opposed to the $712.4 million (€711.9 million) of education funds that NEAR reported as contracted in 2016 to Human Rights Watch.[86]NEAR informed Human Rights Watch in September 2017 that all funding by the Madad Fund would be systematically reported in IATI format in the near future and that the data will distinguish between “spend” and “commitments”.[87]

United States

The US and Norway are the only donors examined in this report that made a funding pledge specifically for education at the London Conference. But the US’ reporting practices do not allow an assessment of whether it fulfilled its 2016 pledge.

In response to questions from Human Rights Watch about education funding under the London Conference pledge for 2016, made in February of that year, the US State Department reported figures for the 2016 US Fiscal Year, which runs from October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016.[88] During that time, the US provided humanitarian aid of $1.4 billion to Syria and the region; some of that funding supported education, but the State Department did not provide information on the amount, or on concrete projects funded, pointing out that it includes non-earmarked funds that may be used for education. [89] In addition, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) funded education and youth programs in Jordan and Lebanon.[90]

The US maintains two public databases with information on all US foreign aid, the USAID Foreign Aid Explorer, and ForeignAssistance.gov, which is run by the US State Department.[91] Human Rights Watch used the USAID Foreign Aid Explorer to the extent possible.[92] As of July 24, 2017, the database listed 22 funded projects (“activities”) under Basic Education, including $30 million for school expansion contracts, $14 million for an early grade reading and math project, and $13 million for furnishing and equipping schools, but no commitment or disbursement dates are listed and no further documents are provided. In many other cases, the project descriptions are very broad, such as “basic education.” As of July 24, Foreignassistance.gov listed 58 projects under Basic Education and 2 projects under Higher Education in Jordan for fiscal year 2016, and allowed users to download a file with all funding to Jordan, including disbursement dates.

There is a substantial discrepancy regarding Jordan. As of July 14, 2017, the USAID Foreign Aid Explorer reported $82 million in educational projects in Jordan for the 2016 US fiscal year, and not $248 million as reported by the State Department.[93] Reporting for the 2016 fiscal year had not been finalized, but the database figure for education funding to Lebanon, by contrast, matched the figure provided to Human Rights Watch.[94] Information from the Jordan Response Information System for the Syria Crisis accounted for $13 million in US aid for education in Jordan in the 2016 calendar year.[95] 

The US aimed to publish quarterly project data on all its development funding in IATI format by the end of 2015.[96] Human Rights Watch reviewed the IATI data published as of February 17, 2017, for “spend” (disbursements and expenses) on education projects in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey during the 2016 US Fiscal Year that started on October 1, 2015. The data included information on US spend of $13.8 million on education projects in Jordan, $26.4 million in Lebanon, and $36,000 in Turkey, more than $200 million less than indicated by the State Department. [97] We checked for funding commitments made to these projects in the 2016 US Fiscal Year, but information on these appeared not to be systematically included in the published IATI data;[98] we also tried to extract more detailed data on US education funding to these countries from the IATI registry, but queries yielded no results, possibly due to formatting errors in the data.[99]

Germany

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development is transparent about aid for education of refugee and vulnerable host community children in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, but there is room for improvement. Human Rights Watch obtained a detailed list of 2016 funding commitments to education projects funded by the ministry under the German pledge, which was up-to-date as of December 12, 2016.[100]

The ministry publishes data on projects it funds in the IATI format; it plans to update this data monthly, but had not done so in early 2017.[101] As of February 2017, publicly-reported 2016 funding included $151.7 million (€ 144.5 million) of 2016 commitments to education projects in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, but the ministry had reported commitments of $184 million (€ 175.3 million) to Human Rights Watch in December 2016.[102] The discrepancy could be because the ministry publishes new data with a delay of three months.[103]

In many cases, the projects were not tagged as “education” in the IATI data, making it impossible to find them by browsing the data for education projects.[104] As well, commitment dates were often not included in the data.[105] For one project, the IATI data showed a €21 million ($22 million) commitment, but the ministry reported a €10 million commitment to Human Rights Watch.[106]

The ministry operates a public fund-tracking portal, in German, based on its IATI data. The portal displays overall project budgets and the sector category (such as education), but provides no information on commitments, disbursements, the fine-grained sector classification that IATI allows for (such as primary education), or a sector breakdown between project components.[107]

On the one hand, some German-funded projects that are not classified as educational are likely to support children’s access to school, such as allowing adult refugees to improve their skills and find work, and hence earn enough income to afford to send their children to school. For example, Germany pledged €200 million for the Partnership for Prospects that aims at creating 500,000 jobs in Syria’s neighboring countries by 2017.[108] On the other hand, as with several donors, Germany appears to have over-counted the sum it reported for 2016, by including funding committed for future years of multi-annual projects.[109]

The ministry informed Human Rights Watch that all funded education projects in Syria and its neighboring countries are multi-annual, but this was not reflected in the public information reviewed for this report. As of August 25, 2017, the sum of contracted education funds for the Syria crisis – including both refugee-hosting countries as well as inside Syria – had increased to US $ 257.1 million (€244.9 million) in 2016. Of this, $145.3 million (€138.4 million) were disbursed in the same year and $111.9 million (€106.6 million) are to be disbursed over the following years.[110]

United Kingdom

The UK publishes transparent information about the disbursal of funds for education in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. Upon request by Human Rights Watch, DFID provided detailed information on funds disbursed under the UK’s London pledge for 2016.[111]

DFID publishes data on projects funded by the UK in IATI format on the 15th working day of each month.[112] As of February 17, 2017, the IATI data included information on 2016 disbursements to all projects for which DFID had reported disbursements for education to Human Rights Watch, as well as multi-annual commitments.[113] The data however only classified disbursements of $71.2 million (£49.8 million) to projects in Jordan and Lebanon as “education,” instead of the $81.9 million (£57.3 million) that DFID had reported to Human Rights Watch. In one case, DFID had reported disbursals of $18 million (£12.6 million), but the IATI data only indicated 2016 disbursals of $14.7 million (£10.3 million) for education.[114] Furthermore, the IATI data did not list education components for two grants under which DFID had reported 2016 disbursals of $7.3 million (£5.1 million) for education to Human Rights Watch.[115] Upon request for comments, a DFID official explained that the divergence between these figures is caused by differences in how disbursements that fund education are allocated to sector codes such as “education” or “social infrastructure” for reporting purposes, but stated that the divergence does not imply that DFID education funding in Lebanon and Jordan in 2016 was lower than reported to Human Rights Watch.[116]

DFID runs the Development Tracker, a public portal with detailed information, including commitment and disbursement dates, on all funded projects. The tracker is based on IATI data published by DFID.[117] The portal displays a breakdown by different project components and includes a breakdown for multi-annual projects by UK fiscal year.[118] 

The UK is the only donor for which Human Rights Watch could find public information on multi-annual education funding commitments for Jordan and Lebanon. The UK committed $114.4 million (£80 million) to support the Jordanian government to provide education for Syrian and vulnerable local children, of which $ 19.9 million (£13.9 million) was disbursed in 2016.[119] It also committed $132.6 million (£92.7) million to the Lebanese Reaching All Children with Education II (RACE II) plan up to 2020, $26.2 million (£18.3) million of which was disbursed in 2016.[120]

Norway

Norway and the US are the only donors examined in this report that pledged funding specifically for education at the London Conference. Norway’s general reporting practices on international aid make it a leader concerning transparency of aid for Syrian children’s education.

The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs maintains a public database with detailed information on all grant agreements by the ministry and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) for which disbursements are planned for up to four years, although commitment dates are only displayed for some grants. The database is updated monthly.[121]

However, it appeared that not all Norwegian education funds allocated under the London Conference pledge in 2016 had been made available to implementing partners as of February 1, 2017. As of that date, the database listed disbursements of $6.6 million (NOK 55.3 million) to Jordan, $23.5 million (NOK 195.7 million) to Lebanon, and $1.8 million (NOK 15 million) to Turkey. Another $480,000 (NOK 4 million) finance health and education services for vulnerable host and refugee communities in Lebanon but are classified as “emergency support” and not as “education.”[122] This sum also includes disbursements under grants which had been awarded in previous years, but is around $28 million less than the $60 million (NOK 500 million) allocated for education in the region that the ministry reported to Human Rights Watch. The ministry informed Human Rights Watch that as of August 24, 2017, funding for education from the Norwegian humanitarian budget in response to the Syria crisis in 2016 – including for education in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Syria, and Iraq – had reached $62.7 million (NOK 522.5 million), and that funds from other 2016 budget lines were also financing education.[123]

The database lists some multi-annual education grants to nongovernmental groups in Lebanon and Turkey, but no multi-annual commitments towards the educational schemes established by the Jordanian and Lebanese governments to achieve universal school enrollment of Syrian and vulnerable host community children.[124]

NORAD aimed to publish information on projects including transactions, planned disbursements and budgets in IATI format on a quarterly basis, starting in December 2015.[125] As of February 17, 2017, however, a query to the IATI registry for projects reported by NORAD via the Development Portal did not yield any results.[126]

Japan

Human Rights Watch is not aware of any systematically-organized public information on the disbursal of funds under the Japanese London Conference funding pledge.[127] The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) maintains a public database with information on Japanese development projects, but it does not list any projects in Lebanon or Turkey.[128] JICA publishes project data in IATI format, but as of February 17, 2017, the most recent information for projects in Jordan was from 2014.[129]

The Japanese Foreign Ministry told Human Rights Watch that it could not share information on specific projects funded.[130] 

IV. Inconsistent Data on School Enrollment

Lack of uniform and regular reporting by host countries makes it difficult to come to definitive conclusions about school enrollment figures among Syrian children in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. But none has achieved the goal of universal enrollment. By the middle of the 2016-2017 school year, more than 530,000 Syrian refugee children remained out of education.[131]

At the London Conference, donors and host countries pledged to provide the funding needed to enroll all children in school by the end of the 2016-2017 school year (and beyond). It is therefore essential to have accurate numbers of school-age children, and of children who are not in school. Without reliable figures, it is impossible to assess if appropriate measures are being taken to guarantee all children’s right to education.

Jordan

The London conference used enrollment figures from November 2015 as its baseline. At that time, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Jordan hosted 227,000 school-age Syrian children ages 5 to 17 registered with the UN refugee agency, of whom 145,458 were in formal education and 31,842 had no access to any education.[132]

The need for host countries to obtain accurate information about enrollment is illustrated by Jordan’s establishment of an education monitoring information system. Data that were collected from December 2016 under the improved system, found that only 125,000 out of 232,868 Syrian children were enrolled in formal education, nearly 68,000 were in non-formal education only, and some 40,210 children had no access to any education—worse than the out-of-school figures before the London Conference.[133] By the end of the 2016-2017 school year, there were still only 126,127 Syrian students enrolled in public schools, with another 67,086 children in non-formal education, and a further 2,593 in accredited  programs for out-of-school children.[134]

Lebanon

According to UNICEF, in November 2015, Lebanon hosted 368,000 Syrian refugee children, ages 5 to 17, registered with the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), of whom 180,000 were not accessing formal or non-formal education.[135]

A year later, in December 2016, UNICEF estimated that out of a total of 376,228 Syrian children ages 5 to 17, the number not accessing any education had fallen to 126,732.[136] The latest available update, from March 2017, uses a different age range: there were 423,832 Syrian refugee children, ages 3 to 17, of whom 221,573 were not in formal public education, and 202,259 were in formal public schools.[137] Lebanon aims to enroll all children in pre-school, but because published enrollment numbers frequently include children ages 3 to 18, it is difficult to assess progress towards universal enrollment for children ages 5 to 17.[138]

These numbers undercount out-of-school children since they only capture refugees registered by UNHCR, whom the government estimates comprise only two-thirds of Syrians in Lebanon.[139] In addition, the figures capture both Syrian and other non-Lebanese children.[140] It is not stated if the figures account for dropouts; according to one survey, from September to December 2016, 10 percent of Syrian children dropped out of school.[141]

Although participants in the London Conference committed to bring all Syrian children into school by the end of the 2016-2017 school year, Lebanon presented educational plans at the Conference that fall short of this goal.[142] The 5-year Reaching All Children with Education (RACE) II plan would see fewer than 220,000 “non-Lebanese” children enrolled in formal primary, intermediate, and secondary school, and technical and vocational education and training by 2021.[143]

The plan’s stated aim is merely to reduce the out-of-school rate amongst “non-Lebanese” aged 6 to 14 to less than 25 percent by 2021.[144] Remarkably, the plan aims to have just 4,907 non-Lebanese children enrolled in secondary school and technical and vocational education and training in the 2021 school year. As of March 2017, some 78,300 Syrians ages 15 to 18, the secondary school age in Lebanon, registered with UNHCR.[145]

If the Syrian school-age population remains constant, more than 156,000 children would still not be enrolled in formal education in 2021.[146] This figure does not include those who, in the meantime, will have passed school age without getting an education.

Turkey

Turkish authorities, on which UN agencies rely for data, have provided different figures of the total number of school-age (5 to 17-year-old) Syrian children in Turkey. In November 2015, Turkey hosted 742,000 children, of whom only 289,000 were in school, and 453,000 children were not accessing any education.[147] By June 2016 there were 936,000 school-age Syrian refugee children, UNICEF reported, but another UN planning document put the number at only 845,000 as of August.[148] In December 2016, UNICEF reported, there were 872,536 children, of whom 367,220 remained out-of-school, but a Turkish nongovernmental organization (NGO) report, citing education ministry figures for the same month, stated that of 833,000 Syrian school-age children, 336,000 were not in school.[149]

Of the Syrian refugee children in formal education, roughly 160,000 were enrolled in public schools and about 340,000 were enrolled in so-called Temporary Education Centers (TECs) that teach a modified Syrian curriculum in Arabic.[150] However, in September 2016, Turkey announced plans to close down all TECs within three years, and required all Syrian children entering grades 1, 5, and 9 to enroll in public schools rather than TECs. [151]

V. Unclear Whether Funds Target Education Barriers

With donor support, host country governments should do more to remove obstacles to education and revise policies that have restricted refugee children’s access to education. However, the lack of public information about specific donor-funded projects makes it difficult or impossible to determine the extent to which aid is targeting these barriers.

Human Rights Watch research in 2015 and 2016 identified key obstacles preventing Syrian refugee children from accessing education in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey:[152]

  • Widespread poverty that leaves refugee families unable to pay school-related costs and forces some to rely on child labor or child marriage to cope; 
  • Lack of access to education for secondary-school-age children and children with disabilities;
  • Low-quality teaching that causes dropouts, as teachers are insufficiently trained and often face classrooms of up to 50 students or multiple shifts of classes;
  •  An urgent need for language training in Lebanon and Turkey;
  •  The need for greater access to non-formal education to reach children who have been out-of-school for years;
  •  Delays in getting an identification card required in Turkey to enroll children in school, and
  • A failure to address school harassment and discrimination, which Syrian children and their families cite as a substantial cause of dropouts.[153]

These barriers keep Syrian children from accessing education programs that donors support. The Jordanian Ministry of Education has, for example, created 50,000 new spaces for Syrian children in public schools during the 2016-2017 school year.[154] But in January 2017, it reported that less than half of these spaces had been taken up.[155] In Lebanon, the Ministry of Education offered 200,000 spots to Syrian children in the 2015-2016 school year, but just 151,000 non-Syrians were enrolled by the end of the school year.[156]

Human Rights Watch selected one such key obstacle per country, and sought to identify 2016 donor funding to address it using public sources and responses from donors.[157] Of the analyzed IATI data, only data published by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation included project sector classifications, such as “lower-secondary education,” that are precise enough to assess if aid addresses key obstacles to education.[158]

We also assessed to what extent the 2016 education chapters of the United Nations-coordinated 3RP regional aid plan in response to the Syria crisis (for Jordan and Turkey), and the Reaching All Children with Education II (RACE II) educational plan address these key obstacles.[159]

Donors may have given funds that target these barriers other than the amounts mentioned. The following analysis aims to illustrate what available information allows us to find out about whether aid targets key barriers to education.

Jordan: Little Information on Support for Secondary and Vocational Education

Secondary-school-age Syrian children are particularly vulnerable to barriers to access to education.[160] Yet little information is available on support to secondary education and vocational training for secondary-school-age refugee children.[161]

In Jordan, there was no public information on the total number of Syrian children enrolled in secondary school. A conservative estimate is that around only 5,400 out of at least 25,000 Syrian 16- and 17-year-olds were enrolled in the 2015-2016 school year. That year only 1,605 out of 2,761 eligible Syrian refugee students sat for the final secondary school exam (the tawjihi) and only 536 passed (33.4 percent).[162]

Human Rights Watch found very little information on support for secondary education and technical and vocational education and training for secondary-school-age children. The Jordan chapter of the UN-coordinated regional aid plan in response to the Syria crisis appealed for $35.4 million in 2016 to enroll 156,000 Syrian children in public schools, but it is not clear how many secondary-school-age children were targeted under the plan.

The plan aimed to enroll 500 Syrian and Jordanian youth in vocational training.[163] The enrollment figures listed as 2016 achievements in plan are not broken down between primary and secondary education, and there is no information on vocational training.[164]

Human Rights Watch found information about only five 2016 contributions that support access to secondary education, or technical and vocational education for secondary-school-age children, in Jordan by the six main donors. Only three of these were included in the publicly available sources discussed in chapter 2 of this report. Germany reported 2016 funding of $6.3 million (€6 million) for two projects that support vocational training for Syrians and Jordanians to Human Rights Watch.[165] Only information on one of these projects, which cost $3.15 million (€3 million), is included in the German International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) data.[166]

An EU official reported to Human Rights Watch one grant, from 2016 to 2018, of $4.2 million (€4 million) for vocational education and training.[167] The amount of this funding that would benefit children, as opposed to young adults, is not clear. The IATI data published by the UK Department of International Development did not list any support for secondary education in Jordan in 2016, but did so in Lebanon.[168]

The Jordan Response Information System for the Syria Crisis (JORISS) database reported a US grant of $100,000 to a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) project, that, among other aims, supports secondary school enrollment of Syrians, and a Norwegian grant of $714,000 to a project for “learning support services for youth in camps.”[169]

Lebanon: Lack of Clarity on Funding to Alleviate Poverty-Related Barriers to Education

The dire legal and economic situation of Syrian refugees in Lebanon is an obstacle to education. Human Rights Watch tried to track aid to projects which provide livelihood assistance to allow refugee families in Lebanon to send their children to school, and which provide support with school-related costs.[170]

A 2016 survey found that 71 percent of surveyed Syrian refugee households lived below the daily poverty line of $3.84 per person in Lebanon, most were in debt, and that costs associated with schooling were the most frequently-cited reason for children to be out of school.[171 Another study found that poverty is a main factor behind high rates of child marriage for Syrian refugee girls, most of whom do not continue their education after marriage.[172]

European Union officials told Human Rights Watch in June 2016 that the EU was supporting a UNICEF pilot project to provide unconditional cash grants to Syrian families with children in two areas of Lebanon, intended in part to help families offset school-related costs.

Lebanon’s five-year RACE II educational plan includes a pilot cash-transfer program, but the plan’s published costing analysis does not include the program.[173] The plan also aims to subsidize school supplies for all students in formal and non-formal education as well as school transport for 50 percent of students in formal education and for 75 percent of students in non-formal education by 2021.[174] RACE II envisages a case-management system to address child labor and early marriage, but the Lebanese Education Ministry did not include it in the published costing figures.[175]

RACE II addresses these key economic barriers to education, and Lebanon presented it as the central instrument to realize universal enrollment of Syrian and vulnerable Lebanese children at the London Conference.[176] Human Rights Watch could not find comprehensive information on the funding made available under the plan in 2016. The Project Management Unit in the Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education, which manages the plan, replied to our requests but did not provide figures.[177]

Transparency International reports that donors are reluctant to directly support Lebanese government agencies due to perceptions of corruption.[178] Many donors prefer instead to provide RACE II funds to UNICEF, which issued more than 50 private reports to donors in 2016 that include “the full utilization details of specific financial contributions.”[179] UNICEF maintains a global public database of projects it supports, but apparently in contrast to the private reports to donors, the database does not provide detailed information. [180]

All available public information on funding for RACE II, and all information about 2016 education funding that the six donors assessed in this report shared with Human Rights Watch upon request, reveals only two donor country grants for RACE II.[181] The UK gave $26.2 million (£18.3 million) for RACE II during the 2016-2017 budget year and promised a total of $132.6 million (£92.7 million) up to 2020.[182] And according to IATI data published by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany supported RACE II with $31.5 million (€30 million) in 2016, as of December 16, although the ministry reported to Human Rights Watch that it had given $34.4 million (€32.8 million) as of December 12.[183] In addition, an official of the EU’s Directorate-General NEAR stated at a hearing of the European Parliament’s Development Committee that the EU had given $44.6 million (€42.5 million) to RACE II.[184]

It seems likely that other donors allocated funds for RACE II, but did not clearly report them. The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affair’s Grants Portal reported 2016 funds of $18.2 million (NOK 152 million) for education activities by UNICEF in Lebanon, and the US Foreign Aid Explorer lists US aid of $22 million for the same purpose during the 2016 US Fiscal Year.[185] These sums probably included funds for RACE II.[186]

Human Rights Watch could not find information about other 2016 funding for projects in Lebanon that provide livelihoods support to allow refugee families to send their children to school or to help with school-related costs. The sector classification used for IATI data does not allow browsing for projects that help with school-related costs or cash allowances conditional on school attendance.[187] The only 2016 project to address child labor that Human Rights Watch could identify has a budget of $690,000 from Norway.[188]

At the London conference, Lebanon proposed various schemes to create up to 350,000 jobs, 60 percent of which should be for Syrians.[189] However, in 2016, only 216 work permits were issued to refugees, depriving many of the possibility to obtain an income, and only 7,800 Lebanese and non-Lebanese participated in public work programs.[190] In February 2017, the World Bank approved a $200 million loan to build or repair 500 kilometers of roads in Lebanon, a scheme that should create jobs for Syrians and Lebanese.[191] In March, Lebanon’s labor minister pledged to provide work permits to Syrians in agriculture, construction, and sanitation.[192]

Turkey: Syrian Teachers as a Key Resource in Educating Refugee Children

Syrian students and parents in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey told Human Rights Watch that poor-quality teaching and overcrowded classrooms had caused students to drop out.[193] Qualified Syrian teachers amongst the refugee population could be an important resource to address this problem, but Turkey is the only of the three countries that allows them to teach in accredited programs as “volunteer teachers”.

The Turkey chapter of the 2016 UN-coordinated regional aid plan for the Syria crisis appealed for $1.4 million to train 56,000 teachers to support refugee children and for $32 million for stipends and training of Syrian “volunteer” teachers.[194] The latter appeal appears to have been met in its entirety: Germany funds the stipends of 8,000 Syrian “volunteer” teachers with $41.7 million (€40 million) during the 2016-2017 school year,[195] which allowed UNICEF to pay stipends to all 13,000 “volunteer teachers” in the country by December 2016.[196]

The majority of Syrian teachers employed in Turkey worked at accredited Temporary Education Centers, often established by members of the Syrian refugee community. The education ministry plans to close all TECs by the end of the 2018-2019 school year and integrate the students into the public school system, and has closed some TEC and required that all Syrian children in grades 1, 5, and 9 enroll in public schools. It is not clear if Syrian teachers will have the opportunity to work in the public school system after the TECs are closed.

 

Acknowledgments

This report was researched and written by Simon Rau, a Mercator Foundation Fellow with the Children’s Rights Division. Bill Van Esveld, senior children’s rights researcher, contributed to and edited the report.  Bede Sheppard, deputy children’s rights director; Bill Frelick, refugee division director; Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East and North Africa director; and Bassam Khawaja, Lebanon researcher, also reviewed. Senior legal advisor Clive Baldwin provided legal review. Senior editor in the Program Office, Danielle Haas, edited the report.

Production assistance was provided by Helen Griffiths, children’s rights coordinator; Olivia Hunter, photo and publications coordinator; Jose Martinez, senior coordinator; and Fitzroy Hepkins, administrative manager.

Human Rights Watch thanks the governments, United Nations agencies, and nongovernmental organizations who provided information for this report.

[1] Supporting Syria and the Region London 2016, “Co-host’s statement annex: fundraising,” February 8, 2016, https://www.supportingsyria2016.com/news/co-hosts-statemtent-annex-fundraising/ (accessed January 26, 2017). Note that the co-hosts used different rates to convert German and European Union pledges from to $. This report uses the rate relied on to convert the EU pledge. Parts of given sums may not add up to totals due to rounding.

[2] International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), adopted December 16, 1966, G.A. Res. 2200A (XXI), 21 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 16) at 49, U.N. Doc. A/6316 (1966), 993 U.N.T.S. 3, entered into force January 3, 1976., art. 13(2)(a)-(b); Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), adopted November 20, 1989, G.A. Res. 44/25, annex, 44 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 49) at 167, U.N. Doc. A/44/49 (1989), entered into force September 2, 1990., art. 28(1).

[3] ICESCR, art. 13(2)(d).

[4] CRC, art. 28(1)(e).

[5] See, e.g. Ibid., art. 2.

[6] United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, “General Comment 3, The nature of States parties' obligations (Fifth session, 1990),” U.N. Doc. E/1991/23, art. 2, para. 1. 

[7] CRC, art. 4.

[8] 3RP Regional Refugee & Resilience Plan 2017-2018 in Response to The Syria Crisis, Regional Strategic Overview, December 2016, http://www.3rpsyriacrisis.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/3RP-Regional-Strategic-Overview-2017-18.pdf (accessed January 1, 2017), p. 34.

[9] World Bank, “School enrollment rate, primary, (% net), both sexes, Syrian Arab Republic,” undated, http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SE.PRM.NENR?locations=SY, and “Net enrolment rate, secondary, both sexes (%), Syrian Arab Republic,” undated, http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SE.SEC.NENR?locations=SY, (both accessed February 2, 2017).

[10] 3RP Regional Refugee & Resilience Plan 2017-2018 in Response to the Syria Crisis, Regional Strategic Overview, December 2016, p. 34.

[11] Supporting Syria and the Region London 2016, “Co-hosts declaration from the Supporting Syria & the Region Conference, London 2016,” February 4, 2016, ,  https://www.supportingsyria2016.com/news/co-hosts-declaration-of-the-supporting-syria-and-the-region-conference-london-2016/ , para. 11; United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), “Syria Crisis Education Strategic Paper, London 2016 Conference,”2016, http://www.oosci-mena.org/uploads/1/wysiwyg/160128_UNICEF_MENARO
_Syria_policy_paper_final.pdf
(both accessed January 1, 2017), pp. 3, 10.

[12] Supporting Syria and the Region London 2016, “London Conference One Year On Financial Tracking Report: Co-hosts Statement,” February 6, 2017, https://www.supportingsyria2016.com/news/london-conference-one-year-financial-tracking-report-co-hosts-statement/ (accessed July 11, 2017).

[13] Supporting Syria and the Region London 2016, “Co-hosts declaration from the Supporting Syria & the Region Conference, London 2016,” February 4, 2016, https://www.supportingsyria2016.com/news/co-hosts-declaration-of-the-supporting-syria-and-the-region-conference-london-2016/ (accessed January 1, 2017), para 11. This was consistent with consistent with the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF)’s assessment that $933 million per year was required to meet the goal of universal education for Syrian refugee and vulnerable host-country children, plus $516 million for educational programs inside Syria, beginning in the 2016-2017 school year. UNICEF, “Syria Crisis Education Strategic Paper, London 2016 Conference,” 2016, http://www.oosci-mena.org/uploads/1/wysiwyg/160128_UNICEF_MENARO_Syria_policy_paper_final.pdf (accessed January 1, 2017), p. 10.

[14]The Jordan Compact: A New Holistic Approach between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the International Community to deal with the Syrian Refugee Crisis,” February 4, 2016, https://2c8kkt1ykog81j8k9p47oglb-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Supporting-Syria-the-Region-London-2016-Jordan-Statement.pdf (accessed February 3, 2017), p.2; Government of Lebanon, “Lebanon Statement of Intent, Supporting Syria and the Region London Conference,” February 4, 2016, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/498026/Supporting_Syria__the_Region_ London_2016_-_Lebanon_Statement.pdf (accessed August 22, 2017), p.2.

[15] 3RP Regional Refugee & Resilience Plan 2017-2018 in Response to the Syria Crisis, Regional Strategic Overview, December 2016, http://www.3rpsyriacrisis.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/3RP-Regional-Strategic-Overview-2017-18.pdf (accessed January 1, 2017), p. 46.

[16] ”The Jordan Compact: A New Holistic Approach between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the International Community to deal with the Syrian Refugee Crisis,” February 4, 2016, p.2; Government of Lebanon, “Lebanon Statement of Intent, Supporting Syria and the Region London Conference,” February 4, 2016, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/
system/uploads/attachment_data/file/498026/Supporting_Syria__the_Region_ London_2016_-_Lebanon_Statement.pdf
(accessed August 22, 2017),  p.2.

[17] Email from German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development official, August 25, 2017, on file with Human Rights Watch.

[18] “The Jordan Compact: A New Holistic Approach between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the International Community to deal with the Syrian Refugee Crisis,” February 4, 2016, p.3.

[19] 3RP Regional Refugee & Resilience Plan 2017-2018 in Response to the Syria Crisis, Regional Strategic Overview, December 2016, p. 13; Jordan Response Platform, “Jordan Response Plan for the Syria Crisis 2017-2019,” January 17, 2017, https://static1.squarespace.com/static/522c2552e4b0d3c39ccd1e00/t/5956897e78d1714f5b61f5c2/1498843547605/JRP+2017-2019+-+Full+-+%28June+30%29.pdf (accessed August 22, 2017), p. 3.

[20] UN funding updates for the Jordanian chapter of the 3RP aid plan only cover the plan’s refugee component, whereas figures published by the Jordanian Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation cover the plan in its entirety, including support for Syrian refugees and for vulnerable Jordanian children. See section on 3RP aid tracking below. Jordan’s figures include funding underpinned by a grant agreement or firm commitment letter. Jordanian Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, “JRP 2016 Financial Update,” January 3, 2017, https://static1.squarespace.com/static/522c2552e4b0d3c39ccd1e00/t/586e1b1d3e00bed6a0bc7ccd/1483610911164/Financial+Update+-+January+3+2017+-+V2.pdf (accessed February 3, 2017). Jordan reported that “donors have committed a total of USD 1.436 billion to the JRP for the year 2016, representing 54.05 percent of total requirements.” USD 385.9 million were provided to the Government’s general budget, USD 568.1 million toward refugee support, and USD 482.1 toward resilience support.” Jordan Response Platform, “Jordan Response Plan for the Syria Crisis 2017-2019,” p. 3.

[21] Jordanian Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, “JRP 2016 Financial Update,” April 2017, https://static1.squarespace.com/static/522c2552e4b0d3c39ccd1e00/t/58fdca468419c294e0483ac4/1493027399322/Financial+Update+-+2016+-+April+3+-+V1.pdf (accessed July 14, 2017).

[22] As of September 6, which roughly coincides with the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, the shortfall was $171 million.  Jordanian Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, “JRP Financial Update,” January 3, 2017 and “JRP 2016 JORISS [Jordan Response Information System for the Syria Crisis] Financial Update,” September 6, 2016, https://static1.squarespace.com/static/522c2552e4b0d3c39ccd1e00/t/57e265316a4963137b64897a/1474454835470/Financial+Update+-+September6+-+V2.pdf (both accessed January 30, 2017).

[23] Jordan reported on the “Jordan Response Plan,” the country’s chapter of the “3RP” that encompasses all aid to Jordan in response to the Syria crisis. Jordanian Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, “JRP Financial Update,” January 3, 2017. Jordan reported that “donors have committed a total of USD 1.436 billion to the JRP for the year 2016, representing 54.05 percent of total requirements. USD 385.9 million were provided to the Government’s general budget, USD 568.1 million toward refugee support, and USD 482.1 toward resilience support.” Jordan Response Platform, “Jordan Response Plan for the Syria Crisis 2017-2019,” p. 9. According to the Jordan Response Platform for the Syria Crisis website, “The JRP is the only channel for committing funds in response to the impact of the Syria crisis in Jordan.” Jordan Response Platform for the Syria Crisis, “Frequently Asked Questions,” undated, http://www.jrpsc.org/faq/ (accessed February 9, 2017).

[24] Supporting Syria and the Region London 2016, “Supporting Syria and the Region: Post-London conference financial tracking, Report One,” September 2016, https://2c8kkt1ykog81j8k9p47oglb-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Final-Syria-Report-Sept-16.pdf (accessed August 22, 2017), p.14.

[25] Supporting Syria and the Region London 2016, “Supporting Syria and the Region: Post-London conference financial tracking,  Report Two, February 2017, https://2c8kkt1ykog81j8k9p47oglb-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Syria-Report-TWO-8.pdf (accessed August 22, 2017), p. 17.

[26] The United States provided $248 million, Germany $60 million (€55 million), the European Union $29.6 million (€28.2 million), the United Kingdom $27.2 million (£19 million), Japan $8 million, and Norway $6.4 million (NOK 55.3 million). Information was provided by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development Cooperation on December 14, 2016; by the US State Department on December 7 and December 16, 2016; by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) on January 6, 2017; by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on December 13, 2016 and by the EU’s Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection of the European Commission (ECHO) on January 14, 2017. All information is on file with Human Rights Watch. US figure refers to funding in the US 2016 Fiscal Year which runs from October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016. Numbers for Norway are based on information available on the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Grants Portal on February 2, 2017, http://udtilskudd.regjeringen.no/#/en/country?year=2016 (accessed February 2, 2017).

[27] Spreadsheet with Jordan Response Information System for the Syria Crisis (JORISS) information, updated as of January 25, 2017, on file with Human Rights Watch, obtained via JORISS Project Search, http://www.jrpsc.org/project-search-2016 (accessed January 25, 2017); Information on 2016 EU funding for education in Syria and the region, January 24, 2017, and April 3, 2017, both on file with Human Rights Watch; the Madad Fund, “Action Document for Budget Support to the Ministry of Education to deal with the Syrian Refugee Crisis,” Ref. Ares(2016)2036764, April 28, 2016,  https://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enlargement/sites/near/files/neighbourhood/countries/syria/madad/20160526-ad-3rd-board-sbs-education-jordan.pdf (accessed August 22, 2017), p.22.

[28] Government of Lebanon, “Lebanon Statement of Intent, Supporting Syria and the Region London Conference,” February 4, 2016, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/498026/
Supporting_Syria__the_Region_ London_2016_-_Lebanon_Statement.pdf
(accessed August 22, 2017), p.2.

[29] Government of Lebanon and the United Nations, “Lebanon Crisis Response Plan 2015-2016: Year Two,” December 15, 2015, http://www.3rpsyriacrisis.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/20151223_LCRP_ENG_22Dec2015-full-versionoptimized.pdf (accessed February 3, 2017).

[30]  UN agencies and nongovernmental groups had received $207.3 million in education funding by August 31. Inter-Agency Coordination Lebanon, “August Statistical Dashboard,” August 2016, http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/download.php?id=11912 (accessed February 3, 2017), p.2.

[31] By the end of 2016, the education sector in Lebanon received $253 million. Ibid., p.3; Inter-Agency Coordination Lebanon, “LCRP 2016 Funding Update Q4,” December 31, 2016, https://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/download.php?id=12840 (accessed April 7, 2017).

[32] Supporting Syria and the Region London 2016, “Supporting Syria and the Region: Post-London conference financial tracking, Report One,” September 2016, https://2c8kkt1ykog81j8k9p47oglb-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Final-Syria-Report-Sept-16.pdf (accessed August 22, 2017),, p.14.

[33] Supporting Syria and the Region London 2016, “Supporting Syria and the Region: Post-London conference financial tracking, Report Two, February 2017, https://2c8kkt1ykog81j8k9p47oglb-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Syria-Report-TWO-8.pdf (accessed August 22, 2017),, p. 17.

[34] The EU gave $76.5 million (€72.9 million), Germany provided $63.5 million (€58.3m), the UK $54.6 million (£38.2m), Norway $22.7 million (NOK 195.7 million), the US $21.5 million, and Japan $12.5 million. Information was provided by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development Cooperation on December 14, 2016; by the US State Department on December 7, and December 16, 2016; by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) on January 6, 2017; by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on December 13, 2016, by the European Union’s Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) on January 14, 2017 and by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on December 20, 2016. All information is on file with Human Rights Watch.

[35] Kevin Watkins for Theirworld and the Global Business Coalition for Education, “No lost generation - holding to the promise of education for all Syrian refugees,” September 2016, http://s3.amazonaws.com/theirworld-site-resources/Reports/No-Lost-Generation.pdf (accessed February 3, 2017), p. 56.

[36] 3RP Regional Refugee & Resilience Plan 2016-2017 in Response to the Syria Crisis, Mid-Year Report, June 2016,  http://www.3rpsyriacrisis.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/3RP-Mid-year-Report-Final.pdf (accessed January 2, 2017), p. 40.

[37] 3RP Regional Refugee & Resilience Plan 2016-2017 in Response to the Syria Crisis, 2016 Annual Report, April 4, 2017,  http://www.3rpsyriacrisis.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/3RP-2016-Annual-Report.pdf (accessed April 7, 2017), p.16.

[38]  United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), “UNHCR Turkey, Key Facts and Figures,” September 2016,” http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/download.php?id=11930 (accessed January 2, 2017), p.1; 3RP Regional Refugee & Resilience Plan 2016-2017 in Response to the Syria Crisis, Mid-Year Report, June 2016, pp. 24, 40.

[39] Supporting Syria and the Region London 2016, “Supporting Syria and the Region: Post-London conference financial tracking, Report One,” September 2016, p. 14; Supporting Syria and the Region: Post-London conference financial tracking, Report Two,” February 2017, p. 17.

[40] Information was provided by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development on December 14, 2016; by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on December 13, 2016 and by the EU’s Directorate-General ECHO on January 14, 2017. All information is on file with Human Rights Watch. Numbers for Norway are based on information available on the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Grants Portal on February 2, 2017, http://udtilskudd.regjeringen.no/#/en/country?year=2016 (accessed February 2, 2017).

[41] The US reported child-related aid of $29 million to Turkey in 2016 but did not disaggregate education funds from other funding. The $29 million includes funding to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for “education and child protection” and $5 million to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Information provided by the US State Department on December 7 and December 16, 2016, on file with Human Rights Watch.

[42] Supporting Syria and the Region London 2016, “Supporting Syria and the Region: Post-London conference financial tracking,  Report Two, February 2017, https://2c8kkt1ykog81j8k9p47oglb-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Syria-Report-TWO-8.pdf (accessed August 22, 2017), pp. 3, 5; Supporting Syria and the Region London 2016, “Supporting Syria and the Region: Post-London conference financial tracking, Report One,” September 2016, https://2c8kkt1ykog81j8k9p47oglb-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Final-Syria-Report-Sept-16.pdf (accessed August 22, 2017),, pp. 2, 5-7.

[43] Email correspondence with Department for International Department (DFID) official, December 2016, on file with Human Rights Watch.

[44] 3RP Regional Refugee & Resilience Plan 2016-2017 in Response to the Syria Crisis, Mid-Year Report, June 2016, http://www.3rpsyriacrisis.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/3RP-Mid-year-Report-Final.pdf (accessed January 2, 2017), p. 5.

[45] For an example 3RP funding update see, 3RP Regional Refugee & Resilience Plan 2017-2018 in Response to the Syria Crisis, Regional Strategic Overview, December 2016, http://www.3rpsyriacrisis.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/3RP-Regional-Strategic-Overview-2017-18.pdf (accessed January 1, 2017), p. 48. The 3RP distinguishes between a “total appeal” that includes funding requirements by governments, UN agencies and nongovernmental groups, and an “interagency appeal” which only includes the latter two. The Inter-agency Financial Tracking System only reports on funds towards the “interagency appeal.” 3RP Regional Refugee & Resilience Plan 2017-2018 in Response to Syria Crisis, Regional Strategic Overview, December 2016, p.29.

[46] UNICEF, “Syria Crisis Education Strategic Paper, London 2016 Conference,” 2016, http://www.oosci-mena.org/uploads/1/wysiwyg/160128_UNICEF_MENARO_Syria_policy_paper_final.pdf (accessed January 1, 2017), p. 10.

[47] 3RP Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan 2017-2018 in Response to the Syria Crisis, Regional Strategic Overview, December 2016, p. 48.

[48] Email correspondence with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) official, November and December 2016, on file with Human Rights Watch.

[49] Inter-Sector Coordination Jordan, “Inter-agency Financial Tracking – Jordan (Jan- Sep 2016),” September 30, 2016, http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/download.php?id=12265 (accessed January 31, 2017).

[50] Inter-Agency Coordination Lebanon, “August Statistical Dashboard,” August 2016, http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/download.php?id=11912 (accessed February 3, 2017).

[51] UNHCR, ““UNHCR Turkey, Key Facts and Figures,” September 2016,” http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/download.php?
id=11930
(accessed January 2, 2017),; 3RP Regional Refugee & Resilience Plan 2016-2017 in Response to the Syria Crisis, Mid-Year Report, June 2016,  http://www.3rpsyriacrisis.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/3RP-Mid-year-Report-Final.pdf (accessed January 2, 2017),  p.24.

[52] UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Financial Tracking Service, Tracking Humanitarian Aid Flows, undated, https://fts.unocha.org/ (accessed January 31, 2017).

[53] See, for example, UN OCHA, Financial Tracking Service, Tracking Humanitarian Aid Flows, “Search for funding flows to projects in Turkey, Lebanon or Jordan,” undated, https://fts.unocha.org/data-search/results/incoming?usageYears=2016&locations=124%2C229%2C114#search-results (accessed January 31, 2017).

[54] See, for example, UN OCHA, Financial Tracking Service, Tracking Humanitarian Aid Flows, “Details for Flow ID #144659,” undated, https://fts.unocha.org/flows/144659?search_results=data-search%2Fresults%2Foutgoing%3FusageYears%3D2016%252C2017%26organizations%3D2930%26page%3D5 (accessed February 3, 2017).

[55] European Union Directorate-General European Neighbourhood Policy And Enlargement Negotiations(NEAR), EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syria Crisis (the Madad Fund), undated, https://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enlargement/neighbourhood/countries/syria/madad_en (accessed January 31, 2017).

[56] European Commission and UN OCHA, “FTS and EDRIS”, March 20, 2012, https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/hac/OCHA%20FTS%20and%20ECHO-Edris%20projects.docx (accessed February 3, 2017).

[57] For a funding update from the end of the 2016 calendar year, see, Jordanian Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, “JRP Financial Update,” January 3, 2017, https://static1.squarespace.com/static/522c2552e4b0d3c39ccd1e00/t/586e1b1d3e00bed6a0bc7ccd/1483610911164/Financial+Update+-+January+3+2017+-+V2.pdf (accessed February 3, 2017).

[58] Jordan Response Platform, “JORISS [Jordan Response Information System for the Syria Crisis] Project Search (JRP 2016-2018) – English,” updated as of January 31, 2017; http://www.jrpsc.org/project-search-2016 (accessed January 31, 2017).

[59] Jordanian Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, “JRP Financial Update,” January 3, 2017.

[60] Inter-Sector Coordination Jordan, “Inter-agency Financial Tracking – Jordan (Jan- Dec 2016),” December 31, 2016, http://reliefweb.int/report/jordan/inter-agency-financial-tracking-jordan-jan-dec-2016-education-sector-updated-31 (accessed March 1, 2017).

[61] Donors and recipient governments agreed in the 2011 Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation to “[i]mplement a common, open standard for electronic publication of timely, comprehensive and forward-looking information on resources provided through development co-operation.” Signatories to the Busan agreement committed to “fully implement” the standard for development aid by December 2015. At the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016, major aid organizations and donors committed to “[p]ublish timely, transparent, harmonized and open high-quality data on humanitarian funding within two years” using the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) a basis for a common standard. All donors examined in this report endorsed the Busan Partnership and the commitment at the World Humanitarian Summit.

[62] The format enables the publication of project-level data on a rolling basis, including information on commitments and disbursement amounts, dates, activities, a sector category such as education, and a fine-grained classification such as primary or secondary education, as well as a sector breakdown between project components. It allows for the publication of forward-looking project budgets. Any relevant actor—donors, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), or private sector organizations—can publish data in the IATI format, under an open license so that it can be freely used and republished. IATI does not maintain a central database, but a registry of links to all published data. Published data can therefore be displayed in a donor portal, a centralized portal, such as the Development Portal that allows to browse all published IATI data, and a recipient country portal simultaneously. Aid data can be reported to the UN OCHA Financial Tracking Service in IATI format. IATI, IATI Standard: Introduction, September 2, 2014, http://iatistandard.org/202/introduction/ (accessed February 21, 2017).

[63] Development Portal, “Search for a Publisher, ‘Germany-Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (DE-1)’ and ‘UK-Department for International Development (DFID) (GB-GOV-1),’ undated, http://www.d-portal.org/ctrack.html#view=search (accessed February 21, 2017).

[64] Email by ECHO official, April 3, 2017, on file with Human Rights Watch; see also IATI, “DAC 5 Digit Sector,” August 3, 2016, http://iatistandard.org/202/codelists/Sector/ (accessed April 7, 2017).

[65] Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Grants Portal, undated, http://udtilskudd.regjeringen.no/#/en/country?year=2016 (accessed February 3, 2017).

[66] Information on 2016 European Union funding for education in Syria and the region, January 24, 2017, and April 3, 2017 on file with Human Rights Watch; The Madad Fund, “Action Document for Budget Support to the Ministry of Education to deal with the Syrian Refugee Crisis,” Ref. Ares(2016)2036764, 28 April 2016,  https://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enlargement/sites/near/files/neighbourhood/countries/syria/madad/20160526-ad-3rd-board-sbs-education-jordan.pdf (accessed March 15, 2017), p.22.

[67] ECHO, EDRIS database, https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/hac/ (accessed January 26, 2017); Information on 2016 EU funding for education in Syria and the region, January 24, 2017, and April 3, 2017, on file with Human Rights Watch.

[68] With regard to EU funds, Human Rights Watch only took into account contracted funds. ECHO and NEAR only reported funds for education contracted in 2016 under EU’s London pledge to Human Rights Watch. Also, in EU documents the term “committed” or “allocated” frequently refers to funds which have been made available for being contracted under a financing instrument without having been committed to concrete projects. See e.g. Directorate-General NEAR, “Facility for Refugees in Turkey: projects committed/decided, contracted, disbursed – Status on 03/01/2017,” January 2017, https://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enlargement/sites/near/files/20170109-facility_table.pdf (accessed January 25, 2017).

[69] Both instruments overlap as some funds from the facility are channeled through the Madad Fund.

[70] Directorate-General NEAR, “Facility for Refugees in Turkey: project committed/decided, contracted, disbursed – Status on 03/01/2017.”

[71] Directorate-General NEAR, “EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis, the ‘Madad Fund’ State of Play and Outlook 2016,” September 12, 2016, http://statewatch.org/news/2015/dec/eu-com-madad-info-note-outlook-2015-16.pdf (accessed January 26, 2017); “The Madad Fund – Action documents,” undated, https://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enlargement/news_corner/key-documents_en?field_file_theme_tid%5B%5D=191&field_file_country_tid=All (accessed January 26, 2017).

[72] Email from European External Action Service (EEAS) official, March 2, 2017, on file with Human Rights Watch.

[73] Information on 2016 EU funding for education in Syria and the region, January 24, 2017, and April 3, 2017, on file with Human Rights Watch.

[74] Meetings with ECHO, NEAR, and EEAS officials on March 30, 2017.

[75] ECHO reported having contracted €5.8 million to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Turkey for education, but the EDRIS database only reported €3.4 million, in line with information that IOM Turkey shared with Human Rights Watch (project code ECHO/TUR/BUD/2016/91010). ECHO reported having contracted €1 million for education to CARE Austria for an education project in Jordan, but according to EDRIS, the overall volume of that contract was €1 million, of which €284,000 financed education (project code ECHO/SYR/BUD/2016/91056). Directorate-General ECHO, EDRIS database, https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/hac/ (accessed February 17, 2017); Funding information on IOM Turkey education projects, December 12, 2016, on file with Human Rights Watch; Information on 2016 EU funding for education in Syria and the region, January 24, 2017, and April 3, 2017 both on file with Human Rights Watch.

[76] Of the $772.8 million (€736 million) available to the Madad Fund as of September 12, 2016, only $671 million (€639 million) came from the EU budget. Only $1.05 billion (€1 billion) of the Facility for Refugees in Turkey’s 2016-2017 budget of $3.15 billion (€3 billion) is financed from the EU budget, $262 million (€250 million) of which form part of the EU’s funding pledge for 2016 made at the London conference.  “Remarks by HRVP Federica Mogherini at the “Supporting Syria and the Region” conference,” February 4, 2016, http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_STATEMENT-16-246_en.htm (accessed February 1, 2017). Directorate-General NEAR, “EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis, the ‘Madad Fund’ State of Play and Outlook 2016”, September 12, 2016. Letter by the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, July 11, 2016, A (2016) 2472394-32102040, https://marietjeschaake.eu/en/download/10; Council of the EU, “Refugee facility for Turkey: Member states agree on details of financing,” February 3, 2016, http://www.consilium.europa.eu/press-releases-pdf/2016/2/40802208322_en.pdf (both accessed February 3, 2017).

[77]  Letter from NEAR and ECHO, near.dga2.b.1 (2017), September 7, 2017, on file with Human Rights Watch.

[78] EU Aid Explorer, https://euaidexplorer.ec.europa.eu/SearchPageAction.do (accessed April 7, 2017).

[79] Letter from NEAR and ECHO, near.dga2.b.1 (2017), September 7, 2017, on file with Human Rights Watch.

[80]Search for 2016 education projects in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey financed by the EU Commission (development project search), and DG ECHO (humanitarian project search), EU Aid Explorer, https://euaidexplorer.ec.europa.eu/SearchPageAction.do, September 8, 2017.

[81] IATI, “Publishers, European Commission - Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection, About,” undated, https://iatiregistry.org/publisher/about/ec-echo (accessed February 17, 2017).

[82] IATI identifiers: XI-IATI-EC_ECHO-ECHO/SYR/BUD/2016/91056, XI-IATI-EC_ECHO-ECHO/SYR/BUD/2016/91028, XI-IATI-EC_ECHO-ECHO/TUR/BUD/2016/91010, and XI-IATI-EC_ECHO-ECHO/TUR/BUD/2016/91002. IATI data on these projects is accessible via the Development Portal, http://www.d-portal.org/ctrack.html#view=search (accessed February 16, 2017).

[83] Email by ECHO official, April 3, 2017, on file with Human Rights Watch; see also IATI, “DAC 5 Digit Sector,” August 3, 2016, http://iatistandard.org/202/codelists/Sector/ (accessed April 7, 2017).

[84] Email by ECHO official, April 3, 2017, on file with Human Rights Watch; see also IATI, “DAC 5 Digit Sector,” August 3, 2016, http://iatistandard.org/202/codelists/Sector/ (accessed April 7, 2017).

Letter from NEAR and ECHO, near.dga2.b.1 (2017), September 7, 2017, on file with Human Rights Watch.

 

[85] Directorate-General NEAR, “Aid Transparency,” undated, https://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enlargement/news_corner/iati_en (accessed February 17, 2017).

[86] IATI data on NEAR education projects is accessible via a search for “education” projects by publisher, “European Commission - Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations” in the Development Portal, http://www.d-portal.org/ctrack.html#view=search (accessed February 16, 2017). Information on 2016 EU funding for education in Syria and the region, January 24, 2017, and April 3, 2017, is on file with Human Rights Watch.

[87]Letter from NEAR and ECHO, near.dga2.b.1 (2017), September 7, 2017, on file with Human Rights Watch.

[88] Information on 2016 US aid for education in Syria and the region, December 7, and December 16, 2016, on file with Human Rights Watch.

[89] The information shared by the US State Department did not specify if the figures referred to committed, contracted, or disbursed funds.

[90] This includes $248 million for education in Jordan, and $21.5 million in Lebanon. Information on 2016 US aid for education in Syria and the region, December 7, and December 16, 2016, on file with Human Rights Watch.

[91] United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Foreign Aid Explorer, “US Foreign Aid by Country,” undated, http://explorer.usaid.gov/cd (accessed February 1 and July 14, 2017), and Foreignassistance.gov (accessed February 1 and July 14, 2017).

[92] There were some discrepancies between the amounts reported to the two databases for education aid to Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey in the 2016 fiscal year. The USAID Foreign Aid Explorer reported larger amounts of 2016 aid for education in Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey than ForeignAssistance.gov.

[93] The $82 million included $68 million for primary education and $14 million for basic life skills for youth and adults. US Foreign Aid Explorer, “US Foreign Aid by Country: Jordan,” undated, http://explorer.usaid.gov/cd/JOR?measure=Obligations&fiscal_year=2016 (accessed February 2, 2017).

[94] As of February 2, 2017, the database listed $ 22 million of USAID funds for “basic education” in Lebanon. US Foreign Aid Explorer, “US Foreign Aid by Country: Lebanon,” undated, http://explorer.usaid.gov/cd/LBN?measure=Obligations&fiscal_year=2016 (accessed February 2, 2017).

[95] Spreadsheet with Jordan Response Information System for the Syria Crisis (JORISS) information, January 25, 2017, on file with Human Rights Watch and JORISS Project Search, http://www.jrpsc.org/project-search-2016 (accessed January 25, 2017).

[96] IATI, “Publishers, United States, About,” undated, https://iatiregistry.org/publisher/about/unitedstates (accessed February 21, 2017).

[98] Most commitments to education projects in Jordan, for example, were negative and appeared to indicate corrections of project budgets. The net value of commitments to education projects during the US 2016 Fiscal Year included in the IATI data was negative.

[99] As of February 17, 2017, a query for data published by the US government on projects in the sectors “Education policy and administrative management;” “Education facilities and training;” “Teacher training;” “Educational research;” “Primary education;” “Basic life skills for youth and adults;” “Basic life skills for youth;” “Primary education equivalent for adults;” “Early childhood education;” “Secondary education;” “Lower secondary education;” “Upper secondary education;” “Vocational training;” and “Higher education” in the IATI Data Store that allows to query the IATI registry did not yield any results, IATI Data Store CSV Query Builder (Alpha Version), undated, http://datastore.iatistandard.org/query/index.php (accessed August 22, 2017).

[100] Information on 2016 funding for education in Syria and the region by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, December 12, 2016, email from ministry official on file with Human Rights Watch.

[101] German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, “Transparenz. Projekt- und Organisationsdaten,” undated, http://www.bmz.de/de/ministerium/zahlen_fakten/transparenz-fuer-mehr-Wirksamkeit/Veroeffentlichung-gemaess-IATI-Standard/. The ministry also publishes an excel file with core project information based on the data published in IATI format, “IATI Activity Data Excel,” http://www.bmz.de/iati/IATI_ActivityData_Excel.xlsx (both accessed February 16, 2017). As of February 16, 2017, the last update was December 16, 2016. German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, “Erlaeuterungen zur Meldung von deutschen EZ-Daten an das IATI-Register,” update of January 16, 2017, http://www.bmz.de/iati/Erlaeuterungen_IATI_de.pdf (accessed February 16, 2017).

[102] German projects are assigned unique IATI identifiers that consist of DE-1-, followed by the ministry’s internal project number. Relying on project numbers that the ministry shared with Human Rights Watch, we found 2016 commitments of €144.5 million to projects with the following IATI identifiers: DE-1-201618529, DE-1-201618537, DE-1-201640614, DE-1-201618032, DE-1-201618073, DE-1-201540855, DE-1-201618594, and DE-1-201640655. IATI data on these projects is accessible via the Development Portal, http://www.d-portal.org/ctrack.html#view=search (accessed February 16, 2017). We did not find commitments to project numbers 201668037, 201618842, 201540657, 201621648, 201668334, and 201621580 that the ministry had reported to Human Rights Watch.

[103] IATI, “Publishers, Germany – Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, About,” undated, https://iatiregistry.org/publisher/about/bmz (accessed February 17, 2017).

[104] See, for example, “Preventing a 'Lost Generation' in Turkey: Support to the Syrian volunteer teachers incentives programme,” IATI identifier DE-1-201640614, classified as “material relief assistance and services.” IATI data on this project is accessible via the Development Portal, http://www.d-portal.org/ctrack.html#view=search (accessed February 16, 2017).

[105] For example, for project “Support to RACE II Reaching all Children with Education Lebanon,” IATI identifier DE-1-201618032,, which wrongly displays a commitment date of January 1, 2016 for a commitment of €30 million; the underlying data does not include a commitment date. IATI data on this project is accessible via the Development Portal, http://www.d-portal.org/ctrack.html#view=search (accessed February 16, 2017).

[106] Vocational Training in Lebanon, IATI identifier DE-1-201540855. IATI data on this project is accessible via the Development Portal, http://www.d-portal.org/ctrack.html#view=search (accessed February 16, 2017).

[107] German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Bilaterale Entwicklungszusammenarbeit. Projektdatenvisualisierung, undated, http://www.bmz.de/de/ministerium/zahlen_fakten/transparenz-fuer-mehr-Wirksamkeit/iati/index.jsp (accessed February 17, 2017).

[108] German Federal Government, “Elf Milliarden Dollar für syrische Flüchtlinge,” February 4, 2016, https://www.bundesregierung.de/Content/DE/Reiseberichte/2016-02-04-syrien-konferenz-london.html (accessed February 1, 2017).

[109] One example is a €15 million project in Turkey that supports access to formal primary and secondary education for Syrian and Turkish children in the cities of Sanliurfa and Gaziantep. The project will run until May 2019, but Germany counted the entire value of the project against its 2016 pledge. See, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, “IATI Activity Data Excel, project 201618537,”  http://www.bmz.de/iati/IATI_ActivityData_Excel.xlsx (accessed January 2, 2017).

[110] Email from German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development official, August 25, 2017, on file with Human Rights Watch.

[111] Email from DFID official on 2016 UK funding for education in Syria and the region, January 6, 2017, on file with Human Rights Watch.

[112] IATI, “Publishers, UK – Department for International Development (DFID), About,” undated, https://iatiregistry.org/publisher/about/dfid (accessed February 17, 2017).

[113] IATI identifiers: GB-1-204906-104, GB-1-204906-105, GB-GOV-1-300059, GB-GOV-1-300239, GB-1-205200, GB-1-204007, GB-1-204515-102, GB-1-204535-102, and GB-1-204536-102. IATI data on these projects is accessible via the Development Portal, http://www.d-portal.org/ctrack.html#view=search (accessed February 16, 2017).

[114] IATI identifier: GB-GOV-1-300059-101. IATI data on this project is accessible via the Development Portal, http://www.d-portal.org/ctrack.html#view= (accessed February 16, 2017).

[115] IATI identifiers: GB-1-204007, GB-1-204515-102, GB-1-204535-102, and GB-1-204536-102. IATI data on these projects is accessible via the Development Portal, http://www.d-portal.org/ctrack.html#view=search (accessed February 16, 2017).

[116] Email from DFID official, September 4, 2017, on file with Human Rights Watch.

[117] Department for International Development (DFID), Development Tracker, undated, https://devtracker.dfid.gov.uk/; DFID, Development Tracker, “About,” https://devtracker.dfid.gov.uk/abou (both accessed February 15, 2017).

[118] DFID, Development Tracker, “Support to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for the Syria Crisis [GB-1-204536],” https://devtracker.dfid.gov.uk/projects/GB-1-204536/ (accessed January 26, 2017). This project should have a 2016 education component of £ 2.7 million according to DFID, but this is not displayed, according to DFID Information on 2016 UK funding for education in Syria and the region, January 6, 2017, on file with Human Rights Watch.

[119] Information on 2016 UK funding for education in Syria and the region, January 6, 2017, on file with Human Rights Watch; DFID, Development Tracker, “Jordan Compact Education Programme: Transforming life chances of a generation of children through education [GB-1-205200],” https://devtracker.dfid.gov.uk/projects/GB-1-205200 (accessed January 26, 2017).

[120] Information on 2016 UK funding for education in Syria and the region, January 6, 2017, on file with Human Rights Watch; DFID, Development Tracker, “Lebanon Reaching All Children through Education (RACE) Phase 2 [GB-GOV-1-300239],” https://devtracker.dfid.gov.uk/projects/GB-GOV-1-300239/ (accessed January 26, 2017).

[121] Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Grants Portal, undated, http://udtilskudd.regjeringen.no/#/en/country?year=2016 (accessed February 1, 2017). Information on earlier years is available via NORAD’s Norwegian aid statistics, undated, https://www.norad.no/en/front/toolspublications/norwegian-aid-statistics/?tab=geo (accessed February 2,  2017).

[122] Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Grants Portal, undated, http://udtilskudd.regjeringen.no/#/en/country?year=2016 (accessed February 1, 2017).

[123] Email from Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs official, August 25, 2017, on file with Human Rights Watch.

[128] Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Project Search, undated, https://www2.jica.go.jp/ja/oda/
index.php?grant_aid[]=%E7%84%A1%E5%84%9F%E8%B3%87%E9%87%91%E5%8D%94%E5%8A%9B&search=%E6%A4%9C%E7%B4%A2
(accessed February 1, 2017).

[129] Search for publisher on the Development Portal, “The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)” on the Development Portal, http://www.d-portal.org/ctrack.html#view=search (accessed February 17, 2017).

[130] Ibid.

[131] 3RP, “3RP Education: Regional Quarterly Dashboard Report,” March 2017, http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/57240.pdf (accessed June 5, 2017).

[132] UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), “Syria Crisis Education Strategic Paper, London 2016 Conference,” 2016, http://www.oosci-mena.org/uploads/1/wysiwyg/160128_UNICEF_MENARO_Syria_policy_paper_final.pdf (accessed January 1, 2017), p. 3. This report states that 31,842 Syrian children are out of school in Jordan, 14 percent of the total.; 3RP, “Regional Monthly Update: 3RP Achievements Nov 2015,” November 2015, http://www.3rpsyriacrisis.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/3RP-Regional-Dashboards-November-2015.pdf (accessed June 4, 2017).

[133] UNICEF, “Preparing for the Future of Children and Youth in Syria and the Region through Education: London One Year On,” Brussels Conference Education Report, April 2017,  http://wos-education.org/uploads/reports/170331_Brussels_paper.pdf (accessed June 5, 2017), p. 18. The Jordanian government had previously reported that in the 2016-2017 school year, 170,000 out of 236,000 school-age Syrian boys and girls were enrolled in formal education, leaving 66,000 with no formal education; 3,000 Syrian, Jordanian, and other children accessed accredited non-formal education programs; and 42,000 children (of any nationality) were reached with informal education, such as basic literacy and numeracy. Jordan Response Plan for the Syria Crisis 2017-2019, January 17, 2017 (updated draft), p. 59f.

[134] Meeting minutes, Jordan Education Sector Working Group, June 12, 2017, p.1 (1,615 children ages 9-12 were enrolled in accredited “catch-up” classes, and 978 children ages 13 and older were in an accredited “drop-out” program), http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/download.php?id=13696.

[135] UNICEF, “Syria Crisis Education Strategic Paper, London 2016 Conference,” 2016, http://www.oosci-mena.org/uploads/1/wysiwyg/160128_UNICEF_MENARO_Syria_policy_paper_final.pdf (accessed January 1, 2017), p. 3.

[136] UNICEF, “Preparing for the Future of Children and Youth in Syria and the Region through Education: London One Year On,” April 2017, p. 16. As of November 2016, 197,000 “non-Lebanese” children were enrolled for pre-primary and primary education in public schools, but no figures on enrollment of Syrian children aged 5 to 17 in the current school year had been published as of February 15, 2017. UNICEF, “Syria Crisis November 2016 Humanitarian Results,” December 28, 2016, http://childrenofsyria.info/2016/12/28/syria-crisis-november-2016-humanitarian-results/ (accessed January 20, 2017), p.14.

[137] Inter-Agency Coordination Lebanon, “2017 May Statistical Dashboard,” http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/download.php?id=13663 (accessed August 22, 2017), p. 1.

[138] As of November 2016, 197,000 “non-Lebanese” children were enrolled for pre-primary and primary education in public schools, but no figures on enrollment of Syrian children aged 5-17 in the current school year had been published as of February 3, 2017; UNICEF, “Syria Crisis November 2016 Humanitarian Results”, December 28, 2016, http://childrenofsyria.info/2016/12/28/syria-crisis-november-2016-humanitarian-results/ (accessed February 3, 2017), p.14.

[139] The Lebanese government instructed the UN refugee agency to stop registering new Syrian asylum seekers in May 2015; the number of registered Syrians stand currently at approximately 1 million. Lebanon largely closed its borders to Syrians in January 2015, but the Lebanese government estimates the overall Syrian population in Lebanon at 1.5 million people as of December 2016. Assuming a similar age distribution among registered and unregistered Syrians, the total number of Syrian school age children in Lebanon could be as high as 570,000. UNICEF, “Syria Crisis Education Strategic Paper, London Progress Report,” September 2016, http://wos-education.org/uploads/reports/London_Education_Progress_Report_
Sept2016.pdf
 (accessed January 1, 2017), p. 2; Government of Lebanon and UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), “Lebanon Crisis Response Plan, 2017-2020,” January 2016, http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/download.php?id=12698; (accessed August 22, 2017), p.11; UNHCR, Syria Regional Response, “Lebanon, Total persons of Concern,” June 30, 2017,  http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/country.php?id=122, (accessed August 1, 2017).

[140] UNICEF, “Preparing for the Future of Children and Youth in Syria and the Region through Education: London One Year On,” April 2017, pp. 4, 16.

[141] Danish Refugee Council, Oxfam, Save the Children, et. al.,, "Stand and Deliver: Urgent action needed on commitments made at the London Conference one year on,” January 23, 2017, http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/publications/stand-and-deliver-urgent-action-needed-on-commitments-made-at-the-london-confer-620180 (accessed August 22, 2017), p. 10..

[142] Government of Lebanon, “Lebanon Statement of Intent, Supporting Syria and the Region London Conference,” February 4, 2016, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/498026/Supporting_Syria__the_Region_ London_2016_-_Lebanon_Statement.pdf (accessed August 22, 2017), p.2.

[143] Reaching All Children with Education II (RACE II) sets targets of around 224,000 “non-Lebanese” children in public school, including 5,000 in secondary school and 2,500 in technical education, and an additional 32,000 in public pre-primary school by 2021. Lebanon Ministry of Education and Higher Education, “Reaching All Children with Education: RACE II (2017-2021), Annex 1: RACE II Logframe,” August 2016, http://www.mehe.gov.lb/uploads/file/2016/Oct/RACE%20II_FINAL%20Narrative_29AUG2016.pdf (accessed August 22, 2017).

[144] Ibid.

[145] Ibid.; UNHCR Lebanon, Refugee population figures for the age group 3-24, March 10, 2017, on file with Human Rights Watch.

[146] This estimate takes the 376,000 children aged 5 to 17 registered with the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, in December 2016 as a baseline, and assumes that all enrolled non-Lebanese would be Syrian refugees in this age group. The number would likely be higher if non-registered children were included. Some Syrian refugee children would be enrolled in non-formal education programs and non-public schools; in June 2016, 36,700 Syrian children were enrolled in private or semi-private schools. However, many Syrian refugee families cannot afford fees associated with private schooling. A 2016 survey found that only 6 percent of surveyed refugee children went to private schools. In December 2016, 55,000 children were in non-formal education. UNICEF, “Preparing for the Future of Children and Youth in Syria and the Region through Education: London One Year On,” Brussels Conference Education Report, April 2017, http://wos-education.org/uploads/reports/170331_Brussels_paper.pdf (accessed June 5, 2017),  pp. 4, 16. Lebanon Ministry of Education and Higher Education, “Reaching All Children with Education: RACE II (2017-2021),” August 2016, p.6. Carole Alsharabati and Carine Lahoud, “Analysis of Child Education Survey”, March 10, 2016, www.isp.usj.edu.lb/pdf/Refugees%20Report%20USJ%20-Avril%202016.pdf (both accessed March 13, 2017), pp. 18, 32.

[147] UNICEF, “Syria Crisis Education Strategic Paper, London 2016 Conference,” 2016, http://www.oosci-mena.org/uploads/1/wysiwyg/160128_UNICEF_MENARO_Syria_policy_paper_final.pdf (accessed January 1, 2017), p. 3.

[148] In September 2016, UNICEF reported that in June there had been 936,000 Syrian refugee children ages 5 to 17 in Turkey, but a December UN planning document put the total number at 845,000 as of August, 2016. Fund (UNICEF), “Syria Crisis Education Strategic Paper, London 2016 Conference,”2016, http://www.oosci-mena.org/uploads/1/wysiwyg/
160128_UNICEF_MENARO_Syria_policy_paper_final.pdf
(accessed January 1, 2017) , p. 2; 3RP Regional Refugee & Resilience Plan 2017-2018 in Response to The Syria Crisis, Regional Strategic Overview, December 2016, http://www.3rpsyriacrisis.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/3RP-Regional-Strategic-Overview-2017-18.pdf (accessed January 1, 2017), , p. 35. In September 2016, the UN refugee agency put the total number at 934,000, but the same agency reported that as of December, there were 865,000. UNHCR Turkey, “Education External Update,” September 2016, http://reliefweb.int/report/turkey/turkey-education-external-update-september-2016-entr (accessed January 1, 2017).

[149] UNICEF, “Over 40 percent of Syrian refugee children in Turkey missing out on education, despite massive increase in enrollment rates - UNICEF,” January 19, 2017, https://www.unicef.org/media/media_94417.html (accessed January 20, 2017). In contrast, a Turkish nongovernmental organization (NGO) cited figures provided by the education ministry in December 2016 that there were 833,039 school-age Syrian children, of whom 496,653 were enrolled in formal education. Education Reform Initiative (Egitim Reform Girisimi), “Community Building Through Inclusive Education,” May 2017, https://indd.adobe.com/view/46316e2e-5eee-4528-928a-ccff039ec51b (accessed July 14, 2017), p. 10.

[150] UNHCR Turkey, “Turkey: External Education Update,” February 2017, http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/download.php?id=12957 (accessed March 14, 2017).

[151] İpek Coşkun, “No more ghost generations: Syrian Children’s Education in Turkey,” The New Turkey, September 26, 2016, http://thenewturkey.org/no-more-ghost-generations-syrian-childrens-education-in-turkey/ (accessed July 14, 2017).

[152] Human Rights Watch, When I Picture My Future, I See Nothing,” Barriers to Education for Syrian Refugee Children in Turkey, November  2016, https://www.hrw.org/report/2015/11/08/when-i-picture-my-future-i-see-nothing/barrier.s-education-syrian-refugee-children; “Growing Up Without an Education,” Barriers to Education for Syrian Refugee Children in Lebanon,  July, 2016, https://www.hrw.org/report/2016/07/19/growing-without-education/barriers... “We’re Afraid for their Future,” Barriers to Education for Syrian Refugee Children in Jordan, August 2016, https://www.hrw.org/report/2016/08/16/were-afraid-their-future/barriers-education-syrian-refugee-children-jordan.

[153] For a summary of our research, see: Human Rights Watch, “Education for Syrian Refugee Children: What Donors and Host Countries Should Do,” September 2016, https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/09/16/education-syrian-refugee-children-what-donors-and-host-countries-should-do.

[154] Jordan Response Platform, “Jordan Response Plan for the Syria Crisis 2017-2019,” January 17, 2017, https://static1.squarespace.com/static/522c2552e4b0d3c39ccd1e00/t/5956897e78d1714f5b61f5c2/1498843547605/JRP+2017-2019+-+Full+-+%28June+30%29.pdf (accessed August 22, 2017), p. 17.

[155] Ibid., p. 60. The drop in enrollment numbers could be due to improved tracking of enrollment figures through the new OpenEMIS system. UNICEF, “Preparing for the Future of Children and Youth in Syria and the Region through Education: London One Year On,” April 2017, p. 18.

[156] Inter-Agency Coordination Lebanon, “2016 End Year Statistical Dashboard,” February 2017, http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/documents.php?page=1&view=grid&WG%5B%5D=21 (accessed March 1, 2017).

[157] Information was provided by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development Cooperation on December 14, 2016; by the US State Department on December 7, and December 16, 2016; by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) on January 6, 2017; by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on December 13, 2016, by the European Union’s Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) on January 14, 2017 and by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on December 20, 2016. All information is on file with Human Rights Watch.

[158] See discussion of International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) data published by the analyzed donors in the preceding section of this report.

[159] The sources of information on 2016 funding requests reviewed for this report include the Jordan Response Plan for the Syria Crisis 2017-2019, the 3RP Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan 2016-2017 in Response to the Syria Crisis, Turkey http://www.3rpsyriacrisis.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Turkey-2016-Regional-Refugee-Resilience-Plan.pdf (accessed February 3, 2017), and the “Reaching All Children with Education: RACE II (2017-2021)” plan. The overall funding appeals under the Turkey chapter of the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan were slightly revised in June 2016, so that the actual amounts appealed for with regard to education projects may differ from those analyzed.

[160] Bassam Khawaja, Elin Martínez, and Bill Van Esveld, The Lost Years, Secondary education for Children in Emergencies, (Human Rights Watch, New York, 2017) https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2017/country-chapters/global-.

[161] Human Rights Watch, Education for Syrian Refugee Children: What Donors and Host Countries Should Do.

[162] Jordan Response Platform, “Jordan Response Plan for the Syria Crisis 2017-2019,” January 17, 2017, https://static1.squarespace.com/static/522c2552e4b0d3c39ccd1e00/t/5956897e78d1714f5b61f5c2/1498843547605/JRP+2017-2019+-+Full+-+%28June+30%29.pdf (accessed August 22, 2017), p. 61.

[163] Jordan Response Plan for the Syria Crisis 2016-2018, p. 50.

[164] Jordan Response Plan for the Syria Crisis 2017-2019, January 17, 2017, pp. 59-61.

[165] Information on 2016 funding for education in Syria and the region by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, December 12, 2016, on file with Human Rights Watch.

[166] IATI identifier: DE-1-201521988; project identified through a query for data published by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development on projects in the sectors “Secondary education,” “Lower secondary education,” “Upper secondary education,” and “Vocational training” in Jordan in the IATI Data Store that allows to query the IATI registry. IATI Data Store CSV Query Builder (Alpha Version), undated, http://datastore.iatistandard.org/query/index.php (accessed August 22, 2017).

[167] Email from EEAS official to Human Rights Watch, March 2, 2017.

[168] Query for data published by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development on projects in the sectors “Secondary education”; “Lower secondary education”; “Upper secondary education” and “Vocational training” in Jordan and Lebanon in the IATI Data Store that allows to query the IATI registry, IATI Data Store CSV Query Builder (Alpha Version), undated, http://datastore.iatistandard.org/query/index.php (accessed August 22, 2017).

[169] Jordan Response Information System for the Syria Crisis (JORISS), “Project IDs 151 and 888,” updated as of February 7, 2017, http://www.jrpsc.org/project-search-2016 (accessed February 7, 2017).

[170] Human Rights Watch explicitly requested information about funding for “livelihoods support so as to allow families to send their children to school” and for “support to offset education-related costs such as school transportation” from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development Cooperation; the US State Department; the UK Department for International Development (DFID); the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan; the EU’s Directorate-General ECHO who also responded on behalf of Directorate-General- Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations(NEAR); and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

[171] World Food Program, UNICEF, and UNHCR, “Vulnerability Assessment of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon 2016,” December  2016, https://www.wfp.org/content/lebanon-vulnerability-assessment-syrian-refugees-december-2016 (accessed August 22, 2017), pp. 31, 51f, 54f.

[172] UN Population Fund, “New study finds child marriage rising among most vulnerable Syrian refugees,” January 31, 2017, http://www.unfpa.org/news/new-study-finds-child-marriage-rising-among-most-vulnerable-syrian-refugees (accessed February 6, 2017). Girls Not Brides, “What is the impact of Child Marriage: Education,” undated, http://www.girlsnotbrides.org/themes/education/ (accessed March 14, 2017).

[173]  Lebanon Ministry of Education and Higher Education, “Reaching All Children with Education: RACE II (2017-2021), Annex 1: RACE II Logframe,” August 2016, http://www.mehe.gov.lb/uploads/file/2016/Oct/RACE%20II_FINAL%20Narrative_29AUG2016.pdf (accessed August 22, 2017)..

[174] Ibid.

[175] Ministry of Education and Higher Education, “Lebanon, RACE II (2017-2021),” August 2016, p. 12; ” RACE II Log Frame.”

[176] Government of Lebanon, “Lebanon Statement of Intent, Supporting Syria and the Region London Conference,” February 4, 2016, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/498026/Supporting_Syria__the_Region_ London_2016_-_Lebanon_Statement.pdf (accessed August 22, 2017), p.2.

[177] Email correspondence with Project Management Unit official, Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education, December 2016 and January 2017, on file with Human Rights Watch.

[178] Transparency International, “Collective Resolution to Enhance Accountability and Transparency in Emergencies,” June 2017,  https://www.transparency.org/whatwedo/publication/create_lebanon (accessed July 28, 2017), p. 22.

[179] Ibid.

[180] The UNICEF database lists $131,397,263 in “expenses” in 2016 for seven projects under the heading “Education and Adolescent Development” in Lebanon; does not list any projects entitled “Education” for Turkey in 2016; and lists $37,807,632 in “expenses” for five projects under the heading “Education” in Jordan, but for a date range of January 2015 to December 2017. See UNICEF, “Map, Turkey”, http://open.unicef.org/map/?k=country&q=Turkey, “Map, Lebanon,” http://open.unicef.org/map/?k=country&q=Lebanon, and “Map, Jordan,” June 2017,  http://open.unicef.org/map/?k=country&q=Jordan (accessed July 24, 2017).

[181] Information was provided by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development Cooperation on December 14, 2016; by the US State Department on December 7, and December 16, 2016; by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) on January 6, 2017; by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan on December 13, 2016, by the EU’s Directorate-General ECHO on January 14, 2017, and by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on December 20, 2016. All information is on file with Human Rights Watch.

[182] Information on 2016 UK funding for education in Syria and the region, January 6, 2017, on file with Human Rights Watch; DFID, Development Tracker, “Lebanon Reaching All Children through Education (RACE) Phase 2 [GB-GOV-1-300239]”, https://devtracker.dfid.gov.uk/projects/GB-GOV-1-300239/ (accessed January 26, 2017).

[183]Support to RACE II Reaching all Children with Education Lebanon,” IATI identifier: DE-1-201618032. IATI data on this project is accessible via the Development Portal, http://www.d-portal.org/ctrack.html#view=search (accessed February 16, 2017).

[184] Information given by a NEAR official at a European Parliament’s Committee on Development hearing, January 26, 2017.

[185] USAID Foreign Aid Explorer, “US foreign aid to Lebanon during 2016 US Fiscal Year,” http://explorer.usaid.gov/cd/LBN?measure=Obligations&fiscal_year=2016 (accessed February 7, 2017).

[186] Most donors are reluctant to provide budget aid to the Lebanese government, as there is currently no budget that has been approved by the Lebanese parliament. Most funds for RACE II are transferred to UNICEF.

[187] IATI, “DAC 5 Digit Sector,” August 3, 2016, http://iatistandard.org/202/codelists/Sector/ (accessed April 7, 2017).

[188] Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Grants Portal, “LBN-16/0002 – Ending Worst Forms of Child Labour in Lebanon,” undated, http://udtilskudd.regjeringen.no/#/en/agreement?agreementNo=LBN-16/0002 (accessed February 7, 2017).

[189] Government of Lebanon, “Lebanon Statement of Intent, Supporting Syria and the Region London Conference,” February 4, 2016, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/498026/Supporting_Syria__the_Region_ London_2016_-_Lebanon_Statement.pdf (accessed August 22, 2017), p. 2.

[190] A spokesperson of UNHCR in Lebanon told Human Rights Watch that “a few thousand work permits, at best” had been granted to refugees as of March 2017. Call with UNHCR Lebanon Spokesperson, March 14, 2017. Inter-Agency Coordination Lebanon, “Livelihoods End of Year Dashboard”, December 2016,http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/download.php?
id=12835
(accessed March 14, 2017).

[191] World Bank, “World Bank Group Allots $200 Million for Road Repairs in Lebanon,” February 6, 2017, http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2017/02/06/world-bank-group-allots-us200-million-for-road-repairs-in-lebanon (accessed June 5, 2017).

[192] Danish Refugee Council, Oxfam and Save the Children, "Stand and Deliver: Urgent action needed on commitments made at the London Conference one year on,’January 23, 2017, http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/publications/stand-and-deliver-urgent-action-needed-on-commitments-made-at-the-london-confer-620180 (accessed August 22, 2017), p. 11.

[193] Human Rights Watch, Education for Syrian Refugee Children: What Donors and Host Countries Should Do.

[194] 3RP Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan 2016-2017 in Response to the Syria Crisis, Turkey, , pp. 45f, 50.

[195] “Preventing a 'Lost Generation' in Turkey: Support to the Syrian volunteer teachers incentives programme,” IATI identifier DE-1-201640614, is classified as “material relief assistance and services.” IATI data on this project is accessible via the Development Portal, http://www.d-portal.org/ctrack.html#view=search (accessed February 16, 2017); phone interview with officials of German development bank KfW that implements this project, December 21, 2016. Germany plans to keep the project in place with at least the same amount of funding in the 2017/18 school year.

[196] Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan 2016-2017, Turkey Monthly Update: Education, December 2016, http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/download.php?id=12809 (accessed March 14, 2017).

Author: Human Rights Watch
Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am

Syrian children and schools in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan. 

© 2017 Human Rights Watch

(Beirut) – Millions of dollars in aid money pledged to get Syrian refugee children in school last year did not reach them, arrived late, or could not be traced due to poor reporting practices, Human Rights Watch said today.

The 55-page report, “Following the Money: Lack of Transparency in Donor Funding for Syrian Refugee Education,” tracks pledges made at a conference in London in February 2016. Human Rights Watch followed the money trail from the largest donors to education in Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan, the three countries with the largest number of Syrian refugees, but found large discrepancies between the funds that the various parties said were given and the reported amounts that reached their intended targets in 2016. The lack of timely, transparent funding contributed to the fact that more than 530,000 Syrian schoolchildren in those three countries were still out of school at the end of the 2016-2017 school year.

“Donors and host countries have promised that Syrian children will not become a lost generation, but this is exactly what is happening,” said Simon Rau, Mercator fellow at Human Rights Watch. “More transparency in funding would help reveal the needs that aren’t being met so they could be addressed and get children into school.”

Donors and the refugee-hosting countries that neighbor Syria agreed at the London conference to enroll all Syrian refugee children in “quality education” by the end of the 2016-2017 school year – and to provide the needed funds. According to the six donors that pledged the biggest sums – the European Union, the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Norway – their contributions alone exceeded the overall 2016 target of US$1.4 billion for education inside Syria and for refugee-hosting countries in the region. Yet, education budgets in countries hosting refugees were substantially underfunded.

Different aid-tracking mechanisms reported substantially different amounts of education aid, and most public information was too vague or unclear to trace funding from a given donor to education projects in a given host country. Of the education funding that was sent, much did not arrive until after the start of the school year – too late to enroll the children it was intended to help. In some cases, donors had double-counted the promised funds.

More detailed, comprehensive information on education aid is needed to assess whether donors have met their pledges and provided aid in a timely way, and whether the activities being funded address key obstacles that are hampering education for Syrian refugee children. Donors, implementing agencies, and host governments need this information to coordinate their efforts and avoid gaps or overlaps in aid.

Donors agreed to provide about US$250 million for education in Jordan and US$350 million for Lebanon in 2016, and acknowledged that much of the aid should be delivered before the beginning of the school year, to make it possible hire teachers, buy books, and plan education programs. But by early September 2016, Jordan faced a US$171 million shortfall, Lebanon US$181 million. By the end of the calendar year, Jordan still had a US$41 million budget gap, and Lebanon US$97 million.

Turkey received about US$742 million for education in 2016, mostly from the EU, but United Nations agencies in Turkey received only US$111 of the US$137 million in education aid they asked for. Various reports said that only between US$14.7 and US$46 million was received by the beginning of the school year.

Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey, for their part, probably undercount the number of Syrian children who need education. They count only Syrians registered as refugees, but nearly 1 million refugees in Lebanon and Jordan are not registered. In addition, enrollment estimates may be inflated. Jordan has improved its data collection, but it found 45,000 fewer Syrian children enrolled in the 2016-2017 school year than previously reported.

The EU was the biggest education donor for Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey in 2016, giving more than US$776 million (€739 million). The EU gave the funding through three channels: its humanitarian arm, ECHO; its Facility for Refugees in Turkey; and the Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syria Crisis. The first two reported detailed information about funding, but the Trust Fund did not. An EU data portal is supposed to track all EU aid, but it listed only four 2016 education projects in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, when there were many more.

The US government told Human Rights Watch that it had given US$1.4 billion in humanitarian aid for both Syria and the region in the 2016 US fiscal year, but it is unclear how much of that money went to education for refugee children. The US Agency for International Development reported that it provided development aid of US$248 million for education in Jordan, but its own aid tracking database only accounted for US$82 million, and a Jordanian government database listed only US$13 million received for education from the US in 2016.

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development committed US$249 million (€237.1 million) for education. The ministry is transparent, but the published information has shortcomings, such as not including disbursement dates. The ministry says that these shortcomings are due to its IT infrastructure.

The UK, through its Department for International Development (DFID), provided US$81.8 million (£57.2 million) for education in Jordan and Lebanon in 2016. The UK published detailed information about the date funds were given, and for what projects.

Norway provided at least US$31.9 million (NOK 266 million) for education in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey in 2016. Norway published detailed information, but could improve by publishing aid data in the International Aid Transparency Initiative format, an agreed common standard. The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) said it aimed to do so by December 2015, but had not published any data by July 2017.

The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Japan gave US$25.5 million for education in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey in 2016, but so little public information is available that it is impossible to determine when this aid was delivered or what it supported.

Human Rights Watch has reported extensively on obstacles to education in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan, including policies that make school-related costs unaffordable by contributing to refugee families’ poverty, and restrict children’s ability to access or enroll in schools. Greater transparency on education funding could help to show why enrollment goals are being missed, identify the responsible parties, and pressure them to improve. It could pinpoint the extent to which host country policies, as opposed to insufficient donor funding, are keeping children out of school.

“Despite global concern about Syrian refugee children, it is still impossible to find answers to basic questions about whether their key educational needs are being met,” Rau said. “Donors should fix the transparency deficit that is undercutting their own support for Syrian children, who cannot afford to wait any longer to get back into school.”

Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am

A two-and-a-half-year old born with intersex traits walks with her parents in their garden. The parents have decided to defer all medically unnecessary surgeries until their child can decide for herself.

© 2017 Human Rights Watch

Earlier this year, some leading specialist pediatricians told me that they routinely advise parents of infants to consider surgery on their baby’s sex organs to decrease suicide risk later in life. The claim is not based in medical data, and it’s unethical for a doctor to offer an understandably confused and concerned new parent irreversible and entirely non-urgent surgery to avert a hypothetical future harm.

So why is it happening?

I spent the past year interviewing intersex adults, parents of intersex kids, and doctors who specialize in treating them. Once called “hermaphrodites,” intersex people make up nearly 2 percent of the population—their chromosomes, gonads, and sex organs don’t match up with what we consider typically male or female. One of the reasons we hear so little about intersex people is that based on a now-invalidated medical theory popularized in the 1960s, doctors often perform surgery on them in infancy. They generally say the goal is to make it easier for kids to grow up “normal.” But as our recent report showed, the results are often catastrophic, the supposed benefits are largely unproven, and there are rarely urgent health considerations requiring immediate, irreversible intervention. One of the many risks of surgery is assigning the wrong gender.

“It is harmful to make sex assignments based on characteristics other than gender identity,” Dr. Deanna Adkins, the director of the Duke University Center for Child and Adolescent Gender Care testified in a North Carolina court: “[I]n cases where surgery was done prior to the ability of the child to understand and express their gender identity, there has been significant distress in these individuals.”

A groundswell is taking place right now to put an end to the risks Dr. Adkins points out.

My organization, Human Rights Watch, is joined by the United Nations, the World Health Organization, Amnesty International, every major LGBT legal organization in the US, three former US surgeons general, and all intersex-led organizations around the world in calling for an end to medically unnecessary non-consensual surgeries on intersex kids. The American Medical Association Board of Trustees this year recommended respect for intersex children’s rights to autonomy and informed consent.

But some physicians refuse to accept that the status quo is harmful.

Today, on Suicide Prevention Day, the interviews with the two doctors who advocated early surgery are ringing in my ears.

One pediatric urologist acknowledged that it was possible to raise a child as either gender without surgery. But, citing transgender suicide attempt rates, he said: that if he were to abstain from sex assignment surgery on intersex children, it would result in “97 percent of [his patients having] gender dysphoria.” He said this puts him in a difficult position. He explained: “That carries a 40 percent risk of suicide. Not thinking about suicide. Suicide. Actually doing it, or trying to do it. That is an astoundingly large number…So that's a hell of a burden.”

To suggest that sex assignment surgery on an intersex kid saves them from a future suicide attempt is not only intellectually dishonest, but it skirts the actual issue.

First, while the fear of harassment of their children is a legitimate and palpable experience for all parents, surgical operations on intersex children have never been demonstrated to prevent bullying. True, data show that transgender people in the US carry a 41 percent risk of a suicide attempt in their lifetime, compared with 4.6 percent of the overall US population. But the risk is driven by factors that include discrimination and harassment—and in some cases ill-treatment by doctors— not by whether their genitals match their gender identity.

Second, performing surgery on intersex kids does not ensure their genitals will match their identity. Studies have found rates of gender assignment rejection among intersex children ranging from 5 to 40 percent, depending on the condition. Contrary to that urologist’s assertion that leaving his intersex patients intact would cause gender dysphoria, irreversible surgery may leave them with bodies that don’t match their identities.

Third, children should have the right to negotiate these complex social dynamics for themselves as they grow, and decide when and whether to have surgery—instead of having these decisions forced upon them. A recent investigative report from the Dominican Republic, where most intersex kids are left intact, showed that social awareness, and parent and teacher response help mitigate bullying —as with any other kid.

It is indeed a hell of a burden—but not for the doctor.

Rather it’s a burden on the parents of intersex kids who told me they felt bullied by doctors into choosing these high-risk cosmetic surgeries. And it’s a burden for the kid who will grow up permanently physically scarred and thinking of their body as shameful, in need of “fixing” by a scalpel.

Intersex kids deserve better—especially from doctors who specialize in their care. And no parent should have to wonder if a pediatrician is telling the truth.

We need to outlaw these surgeries on kids too young to decide for themselves that they want them—except in instances of true, data-driven medical need—to protect children from harm that can endure for the rest of their lives. It would protect parents from the mendacious wordplay that continues in clinics today. And it would allow intersex kids to thrive and get support when they need it.

As a father of a two-year-old with an intersex condition told me: “The world can be a hard place for people who are different and I am not naive to the fact that this could create some social difficulties for my daughter.” He and his wife visited multiple specialists, many of whom threatened social outcomes based on hypothetical understandings of what it might be like to grow up with a body that’s a little different from most people’s. The father said: “I don't think the solution is to subject her to anesthesia and perform a surgery, without her consent, that's irreversible.”

Parents are looking for medical advice from providers charged with interpreting data and protecting life and limb. Certainly it’s not a burden for doctors to avoid frightening parents with incomplete and inaccurate information.

Author: Human Rights Watch
Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am